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Full text of "The colonial history of Vincennes, under the French, British and American governments [microform] : from its first settlement down to the territorial administration of General William Henry Harrison, being an address delivered by Judge Law, before the Vincennes Historical and Antiquarian Society, February 22d, 1839 : with additional notes and illustrations"

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THE 



€almml Jijstffrg 0f WmttmtB, 






UNDER TUB 



FRENCH, BRITISH AND AMERICAN GOVERNMENTS, 



FROM ITS FIRST SETTLEMENT DOWN TO THE TERRITORIAL ADMINISTRATION 
Off GENERAL WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON, BEING AN ADDRESS 

DELIVERED 



BY JUDaE TL,JSJW, 



BEFORE 



THE VINCENNES HISTORICAL AND ANTIQUARIAN SOCIETY, 



FEBBUABY 22D, 1839, 



WITH ADDITIONAL NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 



-*♦»- 



i ' \ 



VINCENNES: 
HARVEY, MASON «Sj Co. 

1858. 



4 ; 



1 ■ 



LETTER OF DEDICATION. 

Hox. Lewis Cass: — 

Thirtv-five years siiicc, in the month of June, 
1822, \vc made our first acqiuiintance at "The 
Post" — ^you on your exploring expedition to the 
head waters of the ]Mississippi — I then a young- 
man, jubt commencing my professional career in the 
new 8tate of Indiana. 

What changes have been effected since that pe- 
riod, in and along the Valleys, formed by the streams 
you navigated, and flowing into the "Father of 
Waters," whose fountain head you Avere probably 
the first white man to visit? Leaving Detroit in 
your birch canoe — ascending the Maumee — crossing 
the portage and descending the Wabash and Ohio, 
yf^u entered the Mississippi and pushed your frail \ 

bark to the sources of that great river. How few 
were the resources of the immense inland coast, • I 

along which you voyaged at the time mentioned? 
Wluiu wealth, population and power, are now to t j 

1)0 found along its borders. The most sanguine ; | 

among us, though we have lived to witness the ; { 

alteration, would have been deemed insane to have 
predicted it, or anything like it for a half century 
past. What it will be in another half century, 
neither you or I will l)e permitted to witness. Our 
fervent prayers should be, that the same Provi- 
dence that has hitherto watched over and protected 
us, may continue its guardianship, and preserve us 
and those who are to come after us, the same pros- 
perous, happy, and above all, united people. 

Aside from my high regard for you personally, I 
dedicate this small volume of the incidents con- 
nected with the colonial history of "Post Vincen- 
nes " to yoUy because you yourself have for the great- 



? : !! 

i ■ 



•ii 

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RUE^ 



IV 



DEDICATION. 



er portion of yoiir long and active life been inti- 
mately associated with the rise and progi-ess of the 
North-Western Territory. To ym, whose early 
life and mature years have been devoted to the ad- 
vancement and prosperity of the " Great West," of 
which for so many years "The Post " was the cen- 
tre, and around which, as a nucleus, four of the 
great States of the Union have clustered. 

With great regard, 

Your obedient servant, 

JOHN LAW. 
Vincennes, Feb. 24, 1868. 



PREFACE. 

The great interest which has been taken in the 
Colonial History of "Post Vixcexnes" and its 
intimate connection with the Colonial History of 
the whole North- Western Territory, in addition to 
the fact, that the whole edition of the "address" 
delivered before the "Vincennes Historical and 
Antiquarian Society" in 1839, amounting to two 
thousand copies, has long since been exhausted, has 
induced the author, at the earnest solicitation of 
others, to issue another edition with notes and illus- 
trations, which it was impossible to combine with 
the address — but which are interesting as still furth- 
er elucidating, the subject matter of the address 
itself. These memorials of the early settlement of 
the North-Western Territory, it is due to ourselves 
and those who come after us, to preserve if possi- 
ble. The field is a large one, and what is more, 
rich and productive in incidents of the most inter- 
esting character. I have but gleaned a few con- 
nected with the early settlement of "The Post " so 
called *?par excellence," as the rallying point of an 
Empire, extending from the Lakes to the Ohio, 
from the Miami to the Mississippi — and now con- 
taining within its borders the four great States of 
Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. 

I know of no portion of our country richer in his- 
torical incident. For surely a town which is one of 
the oldest on the Continent— one for the possession 
of which, the greatest nations of the earth have 
contended — France, England, and the United 
States. One located upon the beautiful stream 
which flows before it, the " Ouabache." A river 
known and noted on the maps of the West long be- 
fore the Ohio was known in the geography of the Mis. 






VI 



I'Kr.FAf'K. 



sippi Vall(\v. A y'ivdv which hr nearly a century 
bore upon its waters tlie bateaux of the thi*ee great 
powers above mentioned, bringing their armed war- 
riors to occupy, and it* possible, to preserve it. One 
which has seen within its garrison the jNIousque- 
taire of Louis XV, the grenadier of George the 
III, the riHemen of Clark, and the regular troops 
of Harmar, St. Clair, and Harrison — one al)ovo 
which has floated the " Fleur de Lys," the "Cross 
of St. George" and the glorious "Stars and Stripes " 
of our beloved country — is surely worthy of at least 
a passing notice by those who are now reaping the 
rich fruits of a conquest, made under the most ad- 
verse and trying circumstances, and with a skill 
and bravery not unsurpassed in the most glorious 
triumphs of the revolution. The reader need not 
be informed that I refer to the conquest of "Post 
VixcEXNEs," and the capture of Hamilton and his 
troops, on the memorable 24th of February 1779, 
by General George Rogers Clark. To him, in my 
opinion, considering the results of that conquest, 
the vast addition of Territory acquired by it, and 
the incalculable advantages to the people who now 
occupy it, and to the country at large, the United 
States are more indebted than to any other General 
of the Revolution — Washington alone excepted. 

In conclusion I would say to you who inhabit the 
Territory thus acquired, by the valor and sufferings 
of Clark and his gallant followers, nearly eighty 
years since, if I should impress upon your minds 
and those of your children, who are to succeed you, 
the debt of gratitude which you owe to these brave 
men, long since gathered to their fathers, I shall 
not have labored for nought or written in vain. 

JOHN LAW. 

VixcENNES, Feb. 24th, 1858. 



CONTENTS. 



ADDRESS DEFOKE THE HISTORICAL SUCIETV. 

TIkj Early Sottl(<inont nud Progress of Vinconnes — The Peculiar 
Interest with which the subject is invested — The first Sottleuieuts 
at "Chippo Coke'' by the French — Missionaries — Navigation of 
Iho 'NVubnsh — Early Descriptions of the Country— First Mention 
of Vinconnes— Father Marest's Mistake — Visit of Volney — Inter- 
view between Father Mermet and the " Medicine Man " — Terrible 
Ravages of Disease — Condition of the People for half a century 
after the settlement of the Town — Francois Morgan de Vinsenne - 
The War between France and England — The Expedition of Col. 
George Rogers Clark— Aided by M. Gibault — Col. Francis Vigo 
— Clurk Marches against Vinconnes — Sufferings of his Troops — 
His Letter to the Inhabitants — Order to Gov. Hamilton — Clark 
Captures the Fort, February !24th, 1779— Terms of Capitulation — 
Important Results of Clark's Conquest — Cession of the North- 
western Territory by Virginia to the General Government — Gen. 
TIarmar — Division of the North-Western Territory — Diversity of 
• Materials which enter into the History of the Old Post 1 — 45 

NOTES TO THE ADDRESS. 

T. — M istakc of the North American Review 45 

II.— Gen. Clark's Pecuniary Difficulties 49 

III. — The Great Benefits to the Country of Clark's Conquest — 
Professor Bliss 50 

APPENDIX. 

Services of Clark — His Patriotism — Shameful Treatment by the 
Government, 53 

GENERAL HAMILTON. 
His Imprisonment and Career after his Capture by Clark 61 

TECUMSEH. 
Character— His In Huence with the Tribe— Council with Gen. Har- 
rison—His Great Scheme — Its Failure 74 

PUBLIC LANDS. 
The Disposition, Settlement and Allotment of the Public Lands 
in the "Old Vincennes Land District," under the French, 
. English and American Grants lOG 

TERRITORIAL ACQUISITION. 
The Extension of Our Territorial Limits to the Mississippi at 
the Treaty of Peace in 1783— Causes Operating to Produce 
that Extension— Erection of Forts by Clark — Surveys 129 

LA BALM'S EXPEDITION. 
LaBalm's Expedition and Defeat 132 



II 



. :' 



Vill CONTENTS. 

ANCIENT GRANT. 
Copy of tho Oldest Written Grant of Land at Vinoennea 136 

THE WESTERN SUN. 
The Fiiat Newspaper Printed in tho Indiana Territory— The 
Editor— The Difficulties Attending its Establishment 137 

THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. 
The Catholic Church at Vinoennes— Its Early Establishment and 
Progress— Influence on the Indian Tribes olong the Wabash.. 140 

EARLY MILITIA. 
List of Effective— Men belonging to Capt. Pierre Gamelin's Com- 
pany at Post Vinconnes, July 4th, 1790 157 






Hi 

I'; II 



ADDRESS. 



Having been solicited by that portion of my fel- 
low-citizens, who are menibors of the "Vincennes 
Historical and Antiquarian Society," to prepare an 
aihlrcss, connected with the early settlement, the 
rise, and the progress of our ancient Borough-— I 
have thought that no occasion could, perhaps, be 
ujore appropriate tor its delivery than the one on 
which we are assembled. Dating its origin long be- 
fore the birth of the "Father of his Countiy," a sol- 
itary spot in the wilderness long after his advent on 
the stage of action — scarcely known ev*^n at the 
date of his decease, we have seen it in tii^ present 
century forming a nucleus fi'om which has arisen 
three great States— embracing a population proba- 
bly tivo times as large as that which belonged to 
our parent State, Virginia, at the treaty of peace in 
1783, and one of them, our own State, at the last 
Presidential election giving, of the fi'ee white suf- 
frage polled on that occasion, the fifth highest vote 
of all the States in the Union. Could it be permit- 
ted to him, who was "first in war, first in peace, and 
first in the hearts of his countrymen," to look down 
from the mansions of bliss, where "he rests from 
Ills labors," upon the work of his hands, and see 
an empire called into existence since his departure 



2 



ADDRESS. 



— abounding in wealth — in* intelligence — ^in patriot- 
ism, and love of country; inhabited by freemen, the 
descendants of those whom he had led to battle, 
strong in their attachment to liberty, and able and 
willing to maintain it; proud of the appellation of 
American citizens, and deeply imbued with the 
republican principles so admirably set forth in his 
Farewell Address ;— could he see the country nortli- 
west of the river Ohio, which, even at the period of 
his departure for another and a better world, was 
the abode, for the most part, of the Son of the For- 
est, or the game which constituted his daily subsist- 
ence—now dotted with cities and villages — covered 
with cultivated fields — and the residence of upwards 
of two millions of beings, most of whom have come 
on the stage of action since that period ; how would 
his heart swell with joy, his bosom throb with pleas- 
ure, at the reflection, that these glorious results, are 
but a part and parcel of that admirable system of 
government, the foundation of which was cemented 
by the blood of his fellow patriots of the revolution, 
and the superstructure of which was the work, in 
part, of his own hands. For aught we know, my 
countrymen, his spirit may at this very moment be 
hovering over this assembly. That Being, who is 
all wise and powerful, and who created him, like 
Moses of old, to lead our fathers from a "land of 
Egyptian bondage to the Land of Promise" — may» 
for aught we finite beings loiow, and for the same 
purposes for which he created him, permit him to 
see, and to watch over, and to guard the rights and 
happiness of their descendants. Lot us at least act 



t 
11 



ADDRESS. 



3 



as if we felt the influence of his counsels, and pre- 
serve them, as the richest legacy we can hand down 
to those who are to come after us. If there is any 
one subject which should engage the earnest atten- 
tion of the human mind — ^if there is any one in 
which mankind are particularly interested, it is the 
history of their species. The interest in the sub- 
ject is much increased by the particular relation- 
ship which wfc bear, to the country whose history 
wo are so anxious to thoroughly understiind. There 
is a sort of selfishness in the matter, which, after 
all, constitutes the trae love of country. It is this 
feeling which is the father to all genuine patriot- 
ism, and without it, there would be but little in- 
ducement for action. We read with infinitely more 
pleasure, in childhood, the relations which are given 
us of the struggle for independence here^ than we 
ever did, or ever can that of any other republic, 
which has heretofore, either in ancient or modern 
time, acquired its liberty. We may, and no doubt 
do, dote on isolated cases of patriotism, and love of 
country, as we find them recorded in other times 
and in other places. Our feelings are enlisted — 
our blood comes quicker through our veins, while 
reading the stories of Grecian and Roman struggles 
for independence — and it is the same with the more 
modern contests, between the sovereign and his op- 
pressed subjects. We enter the lists — ^we fight over 
the battles, in our mind's eye, of Marathon and 
Thermopylae. The strongest feelings of the human 
heart are enlisted in behalf of the oppressed, and of 
those contending, as we believe, for their rights. 



ADDRESS. 



'IP 






But what boy who reads of the struggle at Concord^ 
and the battle of Bunker Hill, but that feels an in- 
terest in the story, which no pen, ancient or modern,, 
has ever given to similar engagements. He feels 
that his fathers were there before him — ^that the 
very ground is holy — that the same blood which 
waxed warm in that contest^ when bayonet crossed 
bayonet in deadly strife, is i.'unning through his own 

veins ; and the names of those who fell there, be- 
come as "household words" to him. Stand on its 

gory heights and look around you — does one expe- 
rience the same emotions on the heights of Atheny,. 
on the Acropolis, rich as it is in classic association, 
and in the recollection of a gallant nation struggling 
for existence? No: The American feeling predom- 
inates, and it is right it should be so. ^^Romanus. 
sumy is the true watch word and battle cry of all wlio 
love their country. If this feeling exists to the ex- 
tent which I have described in relation to country, 
does it not run through all the geographical divis- 
ions into which our country is divided? The citi- 
zens of one section will point you to the fields of 
Trenton and Princeton^ as among the most gallant 
exploits of the revolution ; another to the Brandy- 
wine. The Carolinian will tell you, that the battle 
of Eutaw was among the most sanguinary fought; 
while the Virginian points to the siege of York- 
town, as the last and brightest page in our struggle 
for independence. These feelings are natural, they 
are proper; and I should think little of that man's 
heart, whatever I might of his head, who did 
not feel and express them. It is this attachment 



■ 



ADDRESS. 5 

to our own state, to our own abiding place — ^to the 
land of our nativity, or our domicil, which forms 
one of the strongest links of that chain which binds 
us to our common country. But I will go farther. 
There is, or should be, not only an attachment to 
our common country, and to the state which we live 
in, but a strong and abiding attachment to the very 
tovm in which we are located. Without it, we can- 
not feel personally interested in its welfare, in its 
prosperity, in its improvement — in all which should 
render it dear to us, as the abiding place of our- 
selves and of those connected with us. I lay it 
liown, therefore, as a principle not to be contested, 
that he, who, with tlie ties which should bind him 
to the place of his birtli or his adoption, does not 
feel warmly, nay deeply interested in its history, 
in its prosperity, in its adversity; — ^who, whether 
"through good or evil report," will not protect, de- 
fend, and uphold it, is neither a good citizen, attach- 
ed to the state he lives in, or devoted to his eountrv. 
Let others gainsay us as much as they may; let 
envy detract fi'om our merit, or jealousy decry our 
position, our capabilities, our business, or our taste ; 
it is our duty to stick to the "Post." 

As to the early history of "Chippe Coke," (the 
town of Brush Wood,) or, as known in later days, 
Vincennes, clouds and darkness rest upon it. At 
what date it first became established as a military 
position, it is almost impossible, at this late period, 
actually to determine. It is well known that it was 
first settled by the French. That nation, with a 
tact and judgment which is wonderful, and with a 



6 



ADDRESS. 



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il'r 

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prescience which seems to be more than realized at 
the present time, in relation to the country watered 
by the Ohio and the Mississippi and the tributary 
streams; in the latter part of the 17th century 
attempted a union of their settlements on the Mis- 
sissippi, with their possessions in Canada. In order 
to eflfect this, they established a cordon of posts 
from the Lakes to the Balize, including one or 
more military stations on the Illinois and the Wa- 
bash. We know, that early in the 18th century, 
at least, there was one here, one at Kaskaskia before 
that period, another at Peoria, and one at Ouiata- 
non, or the mouth of the Wea, a short distance 
below the present site of the town of Lafayette. 
The project was a grand one, and but for the con- 
currence of circumstances, usually attendant upon 
national schemes, when colonies are to be forme<l 
at a distance — and which in the event of a war with 
a rival power, are the first objects of attack and con- 
quest, might have been successful. And "New 
France," for that was the intended designation of 
this Transatlantic Empire, might, in all the ele- 
ments which constitute wealth and power, by this 
time have rivalled its founder; and we, instead of 
being plain republican citizens, have formed a por- 
tion of the subjects of the "Grand Monarque." But 
the war with Great Britain, which was concluded by 
the peace of 1763, transferred Canada to the British 
dominion, and Louisiana by the secret treaty with 
Spain in 1762, to the latter power. France was 
thus stripped of all her possessions in the New 
World — ^possessions acquired by immense expendi- 



ADDRESS. 



ture both of blood and treasure. It was in the ac- 
complishment of this bold and magnificent scheme 
for western empire, on the part of the French Court, 
that the settlements on the Illinois and Wabash 
were formed. But it was not the military sub- 
jection alone of the western country that France 
had in view. There was another and a higher con- 
sideration — it was the establishment of the Catholic 
religion — ^the established religion of France, which 
she wished to introduce into her possessions on the 
continent. Wherever, therefore, she sent a detach- 
ment of her troops, she accompanied it with a Mis- 
sionary of the Cross — and while the aborigines of the 
counl-ry were kept in awe by the force of her arms, 
it is no less true, and certainly more creditable, 
that the child of the forest was led to obedience by 
the milder but not less powerful influences of the 
new creed, which their fathers, the " Robes Noir," 
<»r Black Robes as they called them, introduced to 
their understanding. It is probably their imagina- 
tion may have been as much influenced as their 
judgment. But be this as it may, it is an admitted 
fact, that the Jesuits who accompanied their expe- 
ditions, did much to soften their feelings and civ- 
ilize their manners, during the short period they 
occupied the country; and the influence of their 
doctrines, and the amenity and kindness of their 
manners, are yet remembered by the tribes who 
occupied a few years since the country between the 
Lakes and the Ohio. No set of men, in pursuit of 
any object temporal or spiritual, ever endured 
greater hardships, suffered more perils, or made 



8 



ADDRESS. 



r 



•ili, 

; III : 



greater sacrifices, than these Reverend Fathers. 
Not content simply with the establishment of their 
"tabernacles in the wilderness," they followed the 
Indian to his hunting gi'ounda — threaded forests — 
swam rivers— crossed prairies in the midst of win- 
ter — ^frequently for days Avithout food, and often 
nearly without raiment. The supposed conversion 
of a single Indian to the doctrines of the Catholic 
church — ^the baptism of an infant, seems to them 
to have been an ample reward for all their labor, 
for all their toil, and for all their sufferings. — 
With us in thase latter days, differing as most of 
us do in our religious opinions from this school of 
ecclesiastics, it is almost impossible to do them jus- 
tice. As a whole, their history has been but little 
studied, and less understood. They have neither 
had their Livy or their Polybius. If the history 
of these men — of their exertions, of their influence, 
of their actions, for good or evil, ever be written 
with candor, it must be in this country, the scene of 
many of their labors, and I might well add of their 
sufferings and their death. "No subject would 
form a more imposing or interesting theme for the 
historian, none demand higher qualifications, more 
laborious research, and above all the most dignified 
superiority to all the prepossessions of age, of coun- 
try, and of creed." It is well known, that accord- 
ing to the rules of the order of St. Ignatius, annual 
reports were required from his followers wherever 
located. The Jesuit, whether in the cold regions of 
Labrador, in the Tropics, in Cochin China; in fine, 
in Europe, Asia, Africa, or America, transmitted 



i"i 



ADDRESS. 



9 



to his superior, at the end of the year, an account 
of his stewardship, in the shape of a pastoral letter. 
But it was not simply the spiritual situation of his 
vineyard he delineated. He described the country, 
its geography, its topography, its customs, manners, 
habits, traditions, language, dialects; in short, every 
matter which, either in a religious, and I might add 
political view, would enable his superior to judge of 
the necessity of further exertion or additional aid. 
And, strange as it may seem, the best and only 
authentic account of the country bounded on the 
north by the Lakes, east by the Miami, south by 
the Ohio, and west by the Mississippi, one century 
since, is in the relations made by the Jesuit Fath- 
ers, giving an account of the Missionary labors in 
that quarter. And I am indebted to one of these 
communications in the ''^LeUres Edifiantet Curieuse,^^ 
(Letters Edifying and Curious), published in Paris 
in 1761, for the first written notice of the "Post." 
It is contained in a letter written by "Father 
(-irabriel Marest, Missionary of the company of Je- 
sus, to Father Grermon of the same company," dated 
at Kaskaskia, an Illinois village, otherwise called 
the "Immaculate Conception of the Holy Virgin," 
November the 9th, 1712, one hundred and twenty- 
six years since. Cast your eyes back, my friends, 
to this period, and in your mind's eye run over the 
period since intervening. Where now is the good 
Father, and the friend to whom he communicated? 
Gathered to their fathers : generation after genera- 
tion have passed away — the priest and the catechu- 
men have returned to the dust from whence they 



10 



ADonses. 



■',■ 
i-; 

1^; 



came, and the places which "once knew them, know 
them no more for ever." One hundred and twenty- 
six years since, and the country now abounding in 
all the materials which constitute a great nation, 
was all but a desert to the banks of the Delaware. 
It is a singular fact, yet no less true, that the 
M-'abash was known and navigated by the whites 
long before the Ohio was known to exist. Indeed, 
all the maps — and I have seen two before the year 
1730— call the Ohio at its confluence with the Mis- 
sissippi, "Ouabache." The reason is obvious, when 
one reflects for a single instant, that the whole 
course of travel to the Mississippi was either by 
the Illinois or the Wabash. The only communica- 
tion with the the Mississippi was by the French in 
the latter part of the 17th and early in the 18th 
century, and was from the Lakes. The priest and 
the soldier were the the only travelers. They as- 
cended the Maumee, crossed the Portage, and 
descended the Wabash to this post. The nations 
of Indians on the south side of the Ohio were at war 
with those on this side. They wished to cross to 
Kaskaskia; the Indians here told them there was 
danger in descending further. They wend their 
way across Illinois, aiming at the Mississippi; they 
descended that stream to New Orleans ; and when 
they found the Ohio pouring its flood into the 
"Father of Waters," they naturally enough sup- 
pose it to be the same stream they had navigated 
in their voyage here, and delineate it on their maps 
as the "Ouabache." In corroboration of the re- 
mark here made, permit me to quote from a por- 






ADDRESS. 



11 



tion of the Reverend Father's letter, above referred 
to. In page 325 describing the Illinois, he says : 
"About eight leagues, or 240 miles below this, (he 
is writing from Kaskaskia,) on the Illinois side, 
that is the east side, (for the Mississippi runs gen- 
erally from north to south,) there empties another 
tine river called "Ouabache." It comes from the 
north-east. It has three branches, one of which 
extends as far as the Iroquois ; the other runs into 
Virginia and Carolina, and the third heads among 
the Miamis." Now it is very evident that the river 
thus described was the Ohio, and that branch of it 
which is said to run up to the country owned by 
the Miamis, was the Wabash. The other branches 
were the main river, and the Tennessee, or the 
Cumberland. The writer gives a very gTaphic de- 
scription of the country bordering on the "Oua- 
bache;" says it is rich in minerals, especially lead 
and tin, and that if experienced miners were to 
(tome out from France and work the mines, ho has 
no doubt "gold and silver" would be discovered in 
abundanre. That the quantity of "buffalo and 
bear" which was to be found on the banks of the 
Wabash, was incredible; and, in the true spirit of 
an epicure, the good Father says — "the meat of a 
young bear is very delicious, for I have tried it." 
Thus we see that in point of antiquity, and virtue 
of prior discovery and occupation, the stream we 
live on takes precedence of the ^^ Belle Riviere.^^* 

But to return to the immediate subject of our 
address. The first notice of Vincenneff which I have 



«See Note A. 



12 



ADDRESS. 



1. :; 



m 



I 



been enabled to find, with no little research, is the 
one given by Father Marest in the same letter from 
which I have made the above quotation, and is on 
])age 333 of the volume referred to. It will be re- 
membered that Volney, who was here in 179G, and 
whose active mind, led him to various enquiries in 
relation to our first settlement, gives it as his opin- 
ion, that the first establishment made here by the 
French was in 1735. And he states the ftxct, that 
lie conversed with the oldest French settlers, and 
with all whom he supposed could give any informa- 
on the subject. It will also be recollected that the 
date of Ftither Marcst's letter from Kaskaskia is 
November the 9th, 1 712, twenty-three years before 
t he period assigned by Volney for the establishment 
of a post here. In the letter referred to, of Father 
Marest, he says — "The French having lately estab- 
lished a Fort on the river Wabash, demanded a 
^Missionary, and Father Mermet was sent to them." 
Now there can be no doubt that the river he men- 
tioned, was the one we live on, and not the Ohio 
with which it was, as I have mentioned, confound- 
ed; and for this very obvious and plain reason, that 
the French never had a ^^Foft" on the Ohio within 
tlie limits eitiier of Indiana, or Illinois. And, it is 
equally clear to my mind, that the post mentioned, 
was the one afterwards, par excellence, called "au 
Poste,"or "the Post," and subsequently "PostVin- 
cennes." If I am right in my conjecture, the set- 
tlement of this place by the French, may be dated 
back as early as the year 1710 or '11 — ^probably the 
former, inasmuch as the Fort must have been built 



ADDRESS. 



13 



and garrisoned bofox'O an application was made for 
a missionary; and it would take some timo to an- 
swer the call from Kaskaskia, the nearest point 
wliere a i)riest could be obtained. The lirst sottlo 
nient of this place then, by the whites, was in the 
year 1710, twenty-fiv^e years before the penod as- 
signed by Volney. But it will not do to let Father 
Mermet g(>, without a more particular notice of him 
and his visit, seeing this was the first "labor of 
love" ever undertaken in our ancient Borough.. 
It seenrLs, the moving impulse which led this "her- 
ald of the cross" to the shores of the Wabash, an. 
impidse which drew many of his brethren into the 
western wilderness, was the conversion of a tribe of 
Indians now extinct, but probably a branch of the 
Miamis — as he says they spoke that language — 
and called "Mascoutins," who had their village 
near the Fort; and who, from their sti*ong attach- 
ment to the superstitions of their medicine men, 
were very little disposed to hear " the true faith," 
as delivered by the Reverend Father. Resolving 
in his own mind the best method of overcoming 
their unbelief in the true church, he concluded to 
have a sort of Owen and Campbell debate, a public 
iliscussion with their principal medicine men, in the 
presence of the nation. But let us hear the fath- 
er's own account of the matter. "The way I took," 
says the Father, " was to confound, in the presenct; 
of the whole tribe, one of these charlatans, whose 
'Manitou,' or Great Spirit which he worshipped, 
was the 'buffalo.' After leading him on insensibly 
to the avowal, that it was not the buffalo that be- 



: ( 



14 



ADRUE.S8. 



I 



worshipped, Imt the 'Manitou/ or Spirit of the buf- 
falo, whicli was under tlie earth, and which anima- 
tod all buffaloes, wli\ h heals the sick, rnd has all 
])()wer; I asked him if other beasts, the bear for 
instance, and wKwh some of his nation worshipped, 
was not equally inhabited by a Manitou, which was 
under the earth? "Without doubt," said the Grand 
Medicine. "If this is so," said the Missionary, 
"men ought to have a Manitou who inhabits them." 
"Nothing more certain," said the Medicine man ; — 
"ought not that to convince you," said the Father, 
pushing his argument, "that you are not very reas- 
onable? For if man upon the earth is the master 
of all animals; if he kills them, if he eats them; 
does it not follow that the Manitou which inhabits 
him, nmst necessarily have a mastery over all other 
Manitous? Why then do you not invoke him, in- 
stead of the Manitou of the bear and the buffalo, 
when you are sick? " " This reasoning " says the 
father, "disconcerted the charlatan." But like 
much other good logic in the world, I am. sorry to 
add, in his own words, "this was all the effect it 
produced." 

A severe malady broke out in the village. The 
Indians, says the father, gathered around the fort^ 
for the purpose of making a great sacrifice to their 
Manitou. They slew thirty or forty dogs, hoisted 
them on poles, and forming a procession, danced 
and sang around the fort. Finding their own 
efforts unable to stop the pestilence, they appealed 
again to the Missionary, to stay the destroying an- 
gel, who was carrying them off daily. But it seems, 



ADDRESS. 



15 



neither the " Manitou" of the French or of the In- 
dian was able to arrest the plague. For, says the 
father, "notwithstanding all my attention, more 
than half the village perished." How long Father 
Merniet remained here, we are unable to say. We 
find he returned to Kaskaskia, and ultimately died 
there. His place, no doubt, was supplied by the 
labors of another; but by whom and when, is un- 
known. The records of the Catholic church here 
make no mention of a missionary, until the year 
1749, when Father Meurin came here; and from 
that time, until the present, there has been a reg- 
ular succession of the priesthood. 

From the period to which I alluded, and for the 
term of nearly half a century, there would be but 
little to notice in the progress of this settlement, 
even if we had the materials of its rise and progress 
t() operate on. Isolated as it was, there were no 
events either in its political or social character, 
which would afford much interest. There was prob- 
ably a succession of priests and commandants, who 
governed the little world around them, with infinite 
power and authority ; from whose decrees spiritual 
or temporal, there was no appeal, and none desired. 
''No colony can long remain separated from its 
])arent stock until it exhibits a peculiar, and dis- 
tinct character. Climate, situation, and country, 
although not exclusively the agents in forming the 
character, must nevertheless be admitted to have 
great influence." The character of the society was 
a mixture of military and civil; more however, of 
the former, than the latter. The white portion of 






le 



ADDRESS. 






m 



%m 



m H *■-',( 



li m 



in 



M 



tUill 



the population was, it must be remembered, essen- 
tially French. In this remote country there were 
few objects to urge to enterprizo. Beggary was un- 
known. The necessaries of life were easily pro- 
cured; <ind beyond these^ there were no wants to be 
supplied. Hospitality was exercised by all — ^for 
there were no taverns. Of what use were codes of 
law, judges, prisons, in such a society. Each dis- 
trict had its commandant; and their proceedings 
were singular enough. The party complaining ob- 
t<iined a notification from the commandant to his 
adversary of his complaint, accompanied by a com- 
mand from the commandant to render justice. If 
tliis had no effect, he was notified to appear before 
the commandant, on a particular day, and answer 
the complaint; and if the last notice was neglected,, 
a sergeant and file of men were sent to bring him. 
It was a very short and summary process, of the 
John Doe and Richard lloe kind — no SheriflP,. niv 
taxation of costs. The party recusant was fined and 
kept in prison until he did his adversary justice; 
and when extremely refractory, the cat-o-nine tails 
brought him to a sense of justice. And I am not 
quite sure, that in many cases, the same speedy and 
exact method of dispensing justice might not be 
practiced in these latter days. Sure I am^ if it was, 
much unnecessary litigation would be avoided. In 
such a state of things, of what use were learning 
and science? Few could read, fewer write; and a* 
to arithmetic, it was a lost art. Their dealings 
were marked by honesty and integrity, and peltrien 



ADbRKSS. 



W 



were their standard of value.* Honorable, puno- 
tual in their dealings, hospitable to strangers, and 
with great kind feeling and brotherly love towards 
one another; — these may be considered as their vir- 
tues. In opposition to them, it must be said, that 
they were devoid of public spirit, enterprize, or in- 
genuity ; were indolent and uninformed. They told 
me, says Volney, (the Americans) in his visit here 
in 1796, "that the Canadians had only themselves 
to blame for their hardships. W'c must allow, say 
they, tliat they are a kind, hospitable, sociable set 
of fellows; but in ignorance and idleness they beat 
tiie Indians. They know nothing of civil or do- 
mestic affairs ; their women neither sew nor spin, or 
make butter, but pass their time in gossiping and 
Uttle. The men hunt, fish, roam in the woods, 
bask in the sun. They do not lay up, as we do, for 
winter, or provide for a rainy day. They can't 
cure pork or venison, make sour krout, or spruce 
beer." But I doubt much, my friends, whether all 
these useful and elegant accomplishments of the 
American, of "curing pork, making sour krout and 
si>ruco beer," which have been inculcated by them 
U) their French neighbors, have much improved 
their social and moral condition. If happiness in 
this world consists, and it does so in a great degree, 
in freedom from care, the population of our village 
were the happiest of the human family; all their 
desires fulfilled. But the race is nearly extinct; 
tiiey have become amalgamated with another peo- 
ple; their habits, manners, opinions, nay language 



*S«e VoU & 



18 



ADDRESS. 



$: 



;i 






,:-?li 



I'il , 



itself, is changing; and in a few years, the tall, 
manly, arrowy form of the descendant of St. Louis — 
mild, peaceful, and always i)olite — ^with his blanket 
capotey the blue kerchief round his head, and san- 
daled feet, will— as some of us have seen them in 
our younger days, wending their way on Sundays 
in their untired and unironed cart, to the old wood- 
on chapel of St. Francis Xavier, with smiling faces, 
and, as I believe, with sincere devotion — be seen 
"no more forever." A new generation, a new race, 
a new people have encroached upon their posses- 
sions; and the laws of civilization, as sure as tho 
laws of nature, will force them to yield to the man- 
ners, habits, customs, dress and language, of their 
more powerful neighbors. AVh ether by the change? 
their physical or moral condition is bettered, is a 
question that might be well mooted. For my own 
part, I doubt it. I believe they were a happier, 
better, and more moral people before their connect 
tion with the Americans, than since; and that the 
change of government, has been productive of no 
good to their social condition. An evidence of 
their attachment to the old state of things, is the 
fact, also noticed by Volney, "that the first thing 
they demanded on their cession to the United 
States, was a military commandant." 

I have before remarked, that from the advent of 
Father Mermet as missionary here, in the year 
1710 or '11, for nearly half a century, there were no 
important events connected with the history of our 
"Post," but a continued succession of commandant* 
and missionaries. I should, however, fail in a very 



t 



T^Vi 



ADDRESS. 



19 



important part of our history, were I not to notice, 
during that period, the commander after whom our 
town is named. Francois Morgan de Vinsenne 
( " Vinsmne,^^ for so he spelled his name,) was an offi- 
cer in the service of the King of France, and serv- 
ing in Canada probably as early as 1720, in the 
regiment "de Carignan." At any rate, as we are 
informed, he was engaged in some service with an- 
other officer on the Lakes towards Sault St. Marie, 
for the Governor of Canada, M. de Vaudriel, in 
1725. At what time he took possession here, is 
not exactly known ; probably somewhere about the 
year 1732. There is nothing on our records to 
show, but an act of sale made by him and Madame 
Vinsenne, the daughter of Monsieur Philip Long- 
prie of Kaskaskia, and recorded there. The act of 
sale, dated 5th January, 1735, styles him "an offi- 
<x)r of the troops of the King," and "commandant 
nu paste (lit Oucbache;" the same deed expressing 
that Madame Vinsenne was absent at the Post. 
Her signature being necessary to the deed, she sent 
her mark, or cross, which is testified to as hers, "X 
the mark of Madame Vinsenne," and showing that 
the good lady was not very far advanced in the ru- 
diments, though her husband was commandant, and 
her father the wealthiest citizen of Kaskaskia. The 
will of Monsieur Longprie, his father-in-law, dated 
the 10th of March, 1735, gives to him, among other 
things, 408 lbs. of pork, which he wishes "kept safe 
until the amval of Mona. Vinsenne," who was 
then at the Post. There are other documents there 
signed by him as a witness, in 1733-'4; among them 



20 



AI>DRESS. 



in: 



"w- 
'M 



one of a i*eceipt for- 100 pistoles, received ftom hi» 
father-in-law, on his marriage. From all these 
proofs, I think it evident that he was here previous 
to 1733, and left with his command, on an expedi- 
tion against the Chicasaws, in 1736„ by orders from 
his superior officer at New Orieans, "Monsieur 
d'Artagette," commandant for the King in Illinois, 
and in which expedition, according to ^^Charle- 
vou,'' M. St. Vinsenne was killed. But as the facts 
are not generally known, I quote his words among 
the last of his volume: "We have just received 
verv had news from Louisiana, and our war with 
the Chickasaw s. The French have been defeated ; 
among the slain is 'Monsieur de Vinsenne,* who 
ceased not until his last breath to exhort the men 
to behave worthy of their religion and their coun- 
try." Thus perished this hero and gallant officer,, 
after whom our town is named. We may well be 
jn'oud of its origin. On looking aj; the register of 
the Catholic churchy it will be found, that the change 
of name fi'om Vinsenne to Vincennes, its present 
appellation, was made as early as 1749.. Why or 
wherefore, I do not know. I wish the original or- 
thography had been observed, and the name spelled 
after its founder^ with the s instead of the t, as it 
should be. 

The war between France and England, which 
broke out about 1754, deprived the former of all her 
possessions in this country; Canada was added to 
Great Britain, and Louisiana, as before remarked,, 
to Spain. The English, anxious to acquir«! posses- 
sion of the country, soon after the peace of 1763i 



1 
}\ 

n 



Ti '" 



ADDB£SS. 



31 



took possession of it The subsequent events will 
introduce the American population on the stage of 
action ; and a brief but accurate history of the events 
which have occurred since, will close my notice of 
it. The inhabitants occupying* the Post, seem to 
have but little considered or regarded the change. 
Their old laws, customs, manners, and habits, were 
continued ; and, as remarked by one who was pres- 
t3nt, "the change of government would have hardly 
been khown." The difficulties, however, between 
tlie mother country, and her colonies, were about to 
produce a change, w^hich has been felt to the present 
day among the ancient inhabitants of the "Post." 
I refer to the capture of it by Gen. George Rogers 
(Mark, February 23, 1779 — sixty years from the day 
after the one, which we are now commemorating. 
Of this expedition, of its results, of its importance, 
of the merits of those engaged in it, of their l)ra ve- 
ry, of their skill, of their prudence, of their success, 
a volume would not more than suffice for the details. 
Suffice it to say, that in my opinion — and I have 
accurately and critically weighed and examined all 
the results produced by any contests in which we 
were engaged during the revolutionary war^— that 
ff)r bravery, for hardships endured, for skill and 
consummate tact and prudence on the part of the 
(•ommander, obedience, discipline and love of coun- 
try on the part of his followers ; for the immense 
l)enefits acquired, and signal advantages obtained 
by it for the whole Union, it was second to no enter- 
prise undertaken during that struggle ; I might add, 
second to no undertaking in ancient or modern war- 



• ii 



iK' 



22 



ADDRESS. 



iP 



it 



n' 



fare. The whole credit of this conquest belongs to 
two men — Gen. George Rogers Clark, and Col. 
Francis Vigo. And when wo consider that by it 
the whole territory now covered by the three great 
States of Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan, was added 
to the Union, and so adnnitted to be by the commis- 
sioners on the part of Great Britain, at the prelim- 
inaries for the settlement of the treaty of peace in 
1783; and but for this very conquest the boundaries 
of our territories west, would have been thb Ohio, 
instead of the Mississippi, and so acknowledged 
and admitted both by our own, and the British 
commissioners at that conference — a territory em- 
bracing, as I have before remarked, upwards of iwd 
million of people, the human mind is lost in the 
contemplation of its eifects ; and we can but wonder 
that a force of one hundred and seventy men, the 
whole number of Clark's troops, should, by this sin- 
gle action, have produced such important results. 
That they did so, all history attests ; that they did 
so, our very assembly here this day proves. 

"It was on the 10th day of December, 1777, that 
Col. Clark opened the plan of the Illinois campaign, 
against the British interests in this quarter, to the 
celebrated Patrick Henry, then Governor of Vir- 
ginia." It is unnecessary now to go into all the 
(causes which led to the adoption of a western 
campaign as suggested by General, then Col. Clarke 
Suffice it to say, that it was not without doubt as to 
its success, and great difficulty in preparing the 
material for the enterprise, that it was undertaken. 
Virginia herself, from whom the aid was demanded, 



^p 



ADDRESS. 



23 






and assistance in men and money was expected, 
was in the most critical period of her revolutionary 
struggle; her finances exhausted, her sons drawn 
from the cultivation of the soil, and from all the 
avocations of civil life — for the most part in the 
field, battling for freedom — it is not to be wondered 
at, "that the counsels which advised so distant an 
expedition should have been listened to with doubt, 
and adopted with caution." Fortunately for the 
country they were not unheeded. Gov. Henry, en- 
couraged by the advice of some of Virginia's most 
prominent and patriotic sons, yielded to the solicit- 
ations of Clark; and, on the 2d of Januaiy, 1778, 
he received two sets of instructions — "one public, 
directing him to proceed to Kentucky for its de- 
fence; the other, secret, ordering an attack on the 
British Post at Kaskaskia," — and with the instruc- 
tions, twelve hundred pounds in depreciated currency^ 
as his military chest for conquering an empire. On 
the 24th of June, 1778, and during a total eclipse 
of the sun — a sad foreboding, as the party thought ? 
of their future success, but which ultimately proved 
"the sun of Austcrlitz," — this patriotic band of four 
companies, under the command of Caj^tains Montr 
gomery. Helm, Bowman, and Harrod, crossed the 
falls of the Ohio, on their apparently "forlorn ex- 
pedition." 

It is a well known matter of history, "that during 
the commencement of our revolutionary struggle, 
the heart-rending scenes and wide-spread ravagea 
of our Indian foes on the Western frontier, were 
caused principally by the ammunition, arms, and 






!' 



M 



k 



abdhess. 



>^iii 



clothing supplied at the British military stations of 
Detroit, Vinccnnes, and Kaskaskia, then garrisoned 
by British troops." To divert the attention of the 
enemy from our own frontier, and to occupy them 
in the defence of their own positions, it was neces- 
sary to carry war into their own dominions. The 
active mind of Clark saw that, by doing this, a 
diversion would be created in our favor. " His first 
intention was to march directly to Vincennes ; but 
on revicAving his troops, the paucity of the number, 
and the want of all the material necessary for the 
attack of a fortified town, induced him to abandon 
this object, and to prosecute the one originally con- 
templated by his instructions — ^the capture of Kas- 
kaskia." It forms no part of the plan of this 
address to enter into the details of that expedition. 
Suffice it to say, that it was eminently successful, 
without the loss of a single man ; and that, on the 
4th of July, 1778, Kaskaskia yielded to the suprem- 
acy of American enterprise and valor, and with 
Cahokia, surrendered to the American arms. 

It must be recollected, that previous to this event, 
ft treaty of peace had been concluded between 
France and the United States. The intelligence of 
it had been communicated to Clark, on his descent 
down the Ohio. The effect of this treat)/ had a won- 
derful influence upon the subsequent events of the 
campaign. Among the individuals at Kaskaskia, 
at the time of its capture, was M. Gibault,* the Ro- 
man Catholic priest, at Vincennes. The capture of 
Vincennes, as Clark himself admits, "had never 






*S«e Note C. 






ADDRESS. 



25 



been out of his mind from the first moment he un- 
dertook the expedition westward." His success at 
Kaskaskia served only to inspire a wish for the 
accomplishment of the long desired achievement. 
Affairs being regulated at Kaskaskia, he sent for 
M. Gibault, and explained to him his views. This 
patriotic individual, who subsequently received the 
])ublic thanks of Virginia for his services, and whose 
attachment for the American cause is well known, 
readily and cheerfully sustained him. Dispatched 
by Clark, to sound the French population here, over 
whom he had great influence, he, on his arrival, 
assembled them in the church, explained the object 
of his mission, the alliance with France, and the 
negotiations with which he was entrusted. He had 
no sooner finished, than the population m manse 
took the oath of allegiance to the Commonwealth of 
Virginia. A commandant was elected, and the 
American flag displayed over the fort — much to the 
astonishment of their Indian neigh))ors, who for the 
first time saw the glorious stars and stripes, instead 
of the Cross of St. George, unfurled to that breeze 
in which it has so often since waved triumphantly, 
' M. Gibault, returned to Kaskaskia with the grat- 
ifying intelligence of the perfect success of his mis- 
sion; not less, it may be presumed, to the astonish- 
ment of Clark, than to his gratification. Cai)tain 
Helm was appointed commandant "and Agent for 
the Indian affairs in the department of the Wa- 
bash," and repaired to the "Post," at which it was 
the intention of Clark to place a strong garrison, on 
the arrival of the reinforcements expected from 



■ :l 



20 



ADDRU8. 



■M 



i, li' 

' I; 



l! 



i 



Virginia. These rcinforpoments never arrived ; and 
A new and important leaf in the chapter of our his- 
tory is about to be unfolded, and another individual, 
no less celebrated, and to u^ equally dear with the 
conqueror, and whose name will go down to pos- 
terity with his, in the history of our place, and, on 
the same bright page which records the valor of the 
oommander, is to bo introduced to your notice. 

It was on the first of August, 1778, that M« 
(ribault returned to Kaskaskia with the intelli- 
gence of the submission of the French inhabitants 
here, to the American government, and of the cir- 
cumstances above detailed. It was well known 
that Governor Abbot, the commander here, at the 
time of Clark's expedition to the Illinois, had gone 
to Detroit on business; and that no great time 
would elapse before reinforcements would be sent 
from that post to Vincennes. Clark could not, even 
had he desired it, detailed any of his own command 
to garrison the place. Helm was here, a com- 
mandant in name simply, without a single solditT 
under his command. From the first of August, 
when M. Gibault returned, until the 29th of Jan- 
uary, 1779, Clark had not received a single commu- 
nication from Vincennes. How he obtained it, and 
the consequences resulting from the communicar 
tion, it is now my purpose briefly to unfold. 

Francis Vigo, better known to us under the mil- 
itary title of Col. Francis Vigo, a rank which he 
held during the terintorial government, was born 
in Mondovi, in the kingdom of Sardinia, in the year 
1747. He left his parents and guardians at a very 






mi 



AODREU. 



27 



^rly age, and enlisted in a Spanish regiment as u 
private soldier. The regiment was ordered to the 
Havana, and a detachment of it subsequently to 
Xew Orleans, then a Spanish post, and which de- 
tachment Col. Vigo accompanied. At what time, 
and under what circumstances he left the army, i» 
not actually known. It is believed, that his atten- 
tion to his duties, his natural intelligence, and high- 
minded and honorable deportment, gained him the 
esteem and contidence of his commander; and that 
he received his discharge without any application 
on his own part. We find that shortly after his 
discharge — and probably by the aid of the same 
j)owerful friend who had obtained it — he was su|)- 
plied with goods, and engaged in the Indian trade 
on the Arkansas and its tributaries; and that a 
few years after, he made a settlement at St. Louis, 
also a Spanish post, and was connected in the clos- 
est relations of friendship an<l business with the 
(jrovernor of Upper Louisiana, then residing at the 
same place, and whose confidence and atfoction he 
enjoyed in the highest degree. That a private sol- 
dier, a man without education-^for he could simply 
write his name — should in a few years, thus be 
enabled to make his way in the world, and, in so 
short a period, become so extensively engaged in 
business, so highly respected and beloved, as we 
know him to have been at the period to which I 
allude, as well as to the day of his death, shows 
him to have thus early been possessed of a goodness 
of heart, a purity of mind, a high, honorable, and 
chivalric bearing; qualities which grew with hi» 



^ 



ADDRESS. 



f 'I 



f 



u 



growth and strengthened with his strength, until 
the very close of his long and useful life. At the 
time of Clark's capture of Kaskaskia, Col. Vigo was 
a resident of St. Louis, and extensively engaged un- 
der the patronage of the Governor in the Indian 
trade up the Missouri. A Spaniard by birth and 
.'illegiance, he was under no obligation to assist us. 
Spain was then at peace with Great Britain, and 
any interference on the part of her citizens was a 
breach of neutrality, and subjected an individual, 
especially of the high character and standing of Col. 
Vigo, to all the contumely, loss, and vengeance, 
which British power on this side of the Mississippi 
could inilict. But Col. Vigo did not falter. With 
an innate love of liuorty, an attachment to repub? 
lican princii)les, piid an ardent sympathy for an 
oppressed people struggling for their rights, he 
overlooked all personal consequences ; and as soon 
as he learnt of Clark's arrival at Kaskaskia, he 
crossed the line — went there and tendered him his 
means, and his influence, both of which were joy- 
fully accepted. Knowing Col. Vigo's influence with 
the ancient inhabitants of the country, and desirous 
of obtaining some information from Vincennes, from 
which he had not heard for several months, Col, 
(^lark, in a conference with Col. Vigo, proposcv' 
that he should come and learn the actual state of 
aifairs at the Post. Col. Vigo did not hesitate a 
moment in obeying this command. With a single 
servant he proceeded on his journey; and when on 
the river Embarrass, he was seized by a party of 
Indians, plundered of every thing he possessed, and 



AODBESS. 



2& 



brought a prisoner before Hamilton, then in posses- 
sion of tlic place, which, with his troops, he had a 
short time before captured, holding Capt. Helm a 
prisoner of war. Being a Spanish subject, and con- 
se(|uently a mm-combatant. Governor Hantiltonv 
although he strongly suspect; I the motives of his 
visit, dared not confine him ; he accordingly admit- 
ted him to his parole, on the single condition, that 
ho should daily report himself at the Fort. On his 
frequent visits there, his acute and discerning mind,, 
aided by the most povverfid memory I ever knew, 
enabled him early to ascertain the state of the gar- 
rison, it« numerical force, means of defence, position,, 
in line all the matter necessary to make an accurate 
report, as soon as liberated.. Hauiilton, in the meaii 
time, embarrassed by his detentit)U, besieged l)y tluv 
French inhabitants of the town, by whom he was 
beloved, for his release; and linally threatened ])y 
tiiem, that unless released, they would refuse alf 
su[)plies> to the garrison, yieldeil, on condition that 
C.0I. Vigo would sign an article "not to do any act 
tluring the war injurious to th(^ British interests." 
This he absolutely and positively refused. The 
matter was finally adjusted, on an agrcen»ent en- 
tered into on the part t>f CoL Vigo, "not to do 
any thing injurious to the British inten;sts on kin 
way to St. Louis." The agreement was signed, and 
til© next day he departed in a pirogue down the 
Wabash and the Ohio, and uj) the Mississippi with 
two voyagers accompanying him. Col. Vigo faith- 
fully and religiously kept the very lettefi' of his bond. 
Qu hi8 wan ^ ^^'- ^^^ ^^ ^^ nothing injurious in 



i>li»i:J 



30 



ADORB03. 






I: 

if,: 



if': 



i 1" 



11 

m 



♦ho slightest degree to British interests. But he 
had no sooner set his foot ok^ shore there, and chang- 
<xi his dress, than in the same piroffue he hastened 
to Kasjikaskiji, and gave the information, and ar- 
ranged the plan, through the means of which, and 
by which alone, Clark was enabled to succeed, and 
did succeed, in surprising Hamilton, and making 
<siptives of him and his garrison. Spirit of the 
illustrious dead, let others judge of this matter as 
they may, we who have lived to see the immense 
advantages of that conquest to our beloved country 
— so little known, and so little appreciated when 
made — will do you justice, and we will also teach 
our children, and our children's children, who are 
to occupy our places when we are gone, to read and 
remember, among the earliest lessons of the history 
of that portion of the country which is to be alat> 
their abiding place — our own lovely valley — ^that its 
conquest and subsequent attachment to the Union, 
was as much owing to the councils and services of 
Vigo, as to the bravery and enterprise of Clark. 

It was on the 5th of February, 1779, that a Spar- 
tan band of one hundred and seventy men, headed 
by as gallant a leader as ever led men to battle, 
crossed the Kaskaskia river, on their march to this 
place. The incidents of this campaign, their perils, 
their sufferings, their constancy, their courage, their 
success, would be incredible, were they not matters 
of history. In my opinion, as I have before re- 
marked, no campaign either in ancient or modern 
warfare — taking into consideration the force em- 
ployed, the want of material, the country passed 



ADDRESS. 



31 



sed 



over, the destitution of even the necessaries of life, 
the object to be accomplished, and the glorious re- 
sults flowing from it, is to be compared to it. And 
what is even yet more astonishing, is the foct, that 
a battle which decided the fate of an empire, a cam- 
paign which added to our possessions a count rv 
more than equal in extent to the United kingdoms 
of Great Britain, Scotland, and Ireland, has scarcely 
even a page of our revolutionary annals devoted to 
its details, or making even honorable mention of 
the brave and gallant men who so nobly and suc- 
cessfully conducted it. 

Time would fail me, and your patience would l>e 
perhaps exhausted, were I to follow step by step, 
and day by day, this small, but brave, devoted, par 
triotic and chivalrous corps, through the wilderness 
from Kaskaskia to this place. It would be but a 
repetition of daily suiferings, of fatigue, of peril, of 
constancy, of perseverance, and of hope. Day after 
day, without provisions, wading in ice and water to 
their necks, through the over-flowed bottoms of the 
Wabash, carrying their rifles above their heads, 
their gallant chief taking the lead, foremost in difli- 
culty and in danger, did these patriotic soldiers 
struggle on, taint, weary, cold and starving, until 
the prize was in view, and their object was accom- 
plished, f Look around you, my friends, and see what 
this portion of our beloved Union is now! Look 
ahead, and tell me, if you can, what it is to be a 
half century hence, supposing the improvements to 
progress as they have the last twenty years — and 
the advancement will bo geometrical — and then go 



ivi 



ADDRESS. 






I 



;ir.f 

I 



l)ack with me sixty years since, this very day, and 
learn from an actor in the scene— one holding com- 
mand, and from whose unpublished journal I make 
tlie extract, what the country was, and the difficul- 
ties and dangers, the perils and sufferings those 
endured for you, and yours; and should you, or 
those who are to come after you, to the latest gen- 
eration forget them, "may your right hands forget 
their cunning." 

"February 22nd, 1779. Col. Clark* encouraged 
his men, which gave them great spirits. Marched 
oTi in the water; tliose that were weak and famished 
from so much fatigue, went in the canoes. We 
came three miles farther to some sugar camps, where 
we stayed all night. Heard the evening and morn- 
ing guns at the Fort. No provisions yet. The 
Lord help us. 

"23d. Set off to cross a plain called Horse Shoe 
Plain, about four miles long, all covered with water 

hreast high. Here we expected some of our brave 
jnen must certainly perish, the water having frozo: 



"Without food, tHMiumbcd with c«ld, up to their wuLits iu wutt'r 
eovered with broken ice, tho cnMi coraposing Clark's tvoops at one 
time mutinied, refusing to march. All the persuasions of Clark bad 
no effect upon the half starved and half frozen soldiers. In one of 
the companies was a small boy wha acted aa drummer. In the samw 
company was a sergeaut, standing six feet two inches ia his stockings, 
stout, athletic, and devoted to Clurk. Finding that his eloquence 
had no effect upon the men, in persuading them to continue their linv 
of march, Clark mounted the little drammer on the shoulders of tho 
stalwart sergeant, and gave orders to him to plunge into the half 
fri^zen water. He did so, the little drammer beating the charge front 
liisMofty perch, while Clark, with sword in hand, followed them, giv- 
ing the command as he threw asJde tho floating ice — " FORWARD ! '* 
Klated and amused with the scene, the men promptly obeyed, holdine 
their rifles above their heads, and in spite of all ob«tiM)leSt veaehed 
the high land beyond them, safely. 






1 



ADDOISS. 



as 



, <»• 



m the night, and so long fasting. Having no other 
resource but wading this lake of frozen water^ we 
plunged in with courage, Col. Clark beingi first.* 
We took care to have boats by, to take those who 
were weak and benumbed with the cold into them. 
Never were men so animated with the thought of 
avenging the ravages done to their back settle- 
ments, as this small army was. About one o'clock 
we came in sight of the town. We halted on a 
amall iiill of dry land, cdled ."Warren's Island," 
where we took a prisoner hunting ducks, who in- 
formed us that no person suspected our eoming in 
tliat season of the year. CoL Clark wrote a letter 
by him to the inhabitants, as follows : 
" To the inhabitants of Post Vincennes — 

"Gentlemen: Being now within two miles of 
your village with my army, determined to take 
your Fort this nighty and not being willing to sur- 
j)rize you, I take this method of requesting such of 
you as are true citizens, and willing to enjoy the 
liberty I bring you, to remain still in your houses. 
And those, if anv there are. that are friends to the 
King, will instantly repair to the Fort, and join the 
Hair-Buyer General, and fight like men. And 
if any such as do not go to the Fort shall be discov- 
ered afterwards, they may depend on severe pun- 
ishment. On the contrary, those who are true 
friends to liberty, will b© well treated. 

"G. R. CLARK." 

In order to gjve effect to this letter, by having it 
communicated to the French inhabitants, the army 

t. •SmMoUC. 



31 



ADDRESS. 



'I 

■ '11/ 



m 



encamped until about sun down, when they com* 
menced their march, wading in water breast high, 
to the rising ground on which the town is situated^ 
One poi < 1'" ^ of the army marched directly up along 
where the ee is now raised, and came in by the 
steam-mill ; while another party under Lieut. Brad- 
ley, deployed from the main body, and came in by 
the present Princeton road. An entrenchment waa 
thrown up in front of the Fort, and the battle com- 
menced from the British side by the discharge, 
though without effect, of their cannon, and the re- 
turn on our side of rifle shot, the only arms which 
the Americans possessed. On the morning of the 
24th, about 9 o'clock, Col. Clark sent in a flag of 
truce, with a letter to the British commander, 
during which time there was a cessation of hostili- 
ties, and the men were provided with a breaktast, 
the Jirst meal which they had had since the 18^/^ ,s7.r 
days before. The letter of Clark is so characteristic 
of the man, so laconic, and, under such trying cir- 
cumstances, shows so much tact, self-possession and 
tirmness, that I will read it: 

"Sir: In order to save yourself from the impend- 
itig storm that now threaten** you, I order you 
immediately to surrender yourself, with all your 
t!farrison, stores, &c., <&c.; tor if I am obliged to 
storm, you may depend on sucli treatment as is 
justly due a murderer. Beware of destroying stores 
of any kind, or any papers or letters that are in 
your possession, or hurting one house in town, for 
by Heavens, if you do, there shall be no mercy 
shown you. "0. R. CLARK. " 

"To Gov. Hamilton." 



ADDRESS. 



35 



Since the days of Charles the Xllth, of Sweden, 
1 doubt whether ever such a cartel, under such cir- 
cumstances was sent to an antagonist. Prudence, 
as Clai'k well knew, would indeed be a "rascally 
virtue" on such an occasion. Hemmed in on one 
side by ice and water, with a fortified post bristling 
with artillery in front, with one hundred and sev- 
enty soldiers — part Americans, part Creoles, with* 
out food, worn out, and armed only with rifles, it 
was, as Clark knew, only by acting the victor in- 
stead of the vanquished, (as was the real state of 
tlie case, if Hamilton had only known the fact) that 
he could hope to succeed. He acted wisely and he 
acted bravely; any other course, and he would have 
been a prisoner instead of a conqueror. The very 
reply of Hamilton to this singular epistle shows he 
was already quailing: 

"Gov. Hamilton begs leave to acquaint Col. 
('lark, that he and his garrison are not disposed to 
//e awed into any action unworthy British subjects." 

The battle was renewed ; the skill of our western 
riflemen, celebrated even in our days, wounded sev- 
eral of the men ih the Fort through the port-hcles, 
the only place where a shot could be made eflective. 
C'lark, w^ith the skill of a. practiced commander, 
must have seen and felt from the answer returned 
to his communication, that another message would 
soon be delivered to him from the same quarter, 
and he was not long in receiving \L The flag of 
truce brought him as follows: 

"Gov. Hamilton i)ropose3 to Col. Clark a truce 
for three days, during which time he promises that 



tl 



36 



address; 



I - 



there shall be no defensive work carried on in the- 
garrison, on condition that Col. Clark will observe 
on his part a like cessation of offensive work ; that 
is, he wishes to confer with Col. Clark, as soon a» 
can be, and promises that whatever may pass be- 
tween them two, and another person mutually- 
agreed on to be present, shall remain secret until 
matters be finished; as he wishes, that wliatever the- 
result of the conferon<^ may be, it may tend to the 
honor and credit of each party. If Col. Clark makes 
a difficulty of coming into the Fort, Lieut. Gov.. 
Hamilton will speak with him by the gate. 

24th Feb'y, '79. HENRY HAMILTON." 

If Gov. Hamilton had known tlie man he was. 
dealing with, he would have found, ere this, that be 
would have made light of any difficulties "in coming 
into the Fort; " and if not already convinced of the 
daring of the toe he was contending with, one would, 
have supposed Clark's answer would have set him 
right: 

"Col. Clark's compliments to Gov. Hamilton, and' 
begs leave to say, that he Avill not agree to any 
terms, other than Mr. Hamilton swh'endering liirmelf 
and garrison prisoners at discretion. 

"If Mr. Hamilton wants to talk with Col. Clark, 
he will meet him at the church with Capt. Helm J' 

Laconic enough, surely, and easily understood ; 
and so it was. For in less than one hour after* 
wards, Clark dictated himself the following Vinxa^ 
which were accepted, a meeting having taiien plac* 
at the church: 

^Ist. Lieut. Got. Hamilton agrees to deliver 



i:|.-:i 



ADDRESS. 



ST 



to Col, €lark, *^Fart Sackville" as it is at present, 
with all its stores, &c. 

2d. The garrison are to deliver themselves as 
l^risoners of war, and march out with their arms and 
««coutrcments. 

3d. The garrison to be delivered up to-morrow at 
ten o'clock. 

4th. Three days time to be allowed the garri- 
son to settle their accounts with the inhabitants and 
traders. 

6th. The officers of the garrison to be allowed 
their necessary baggage., &c. 

Signed at Post St. Vincents, this 24th of Feb- 
ruary, 1779. Agreed for the following reasons: 

1st. The remoteness from succor. 2d. The state 

and quantity of provisions. 3d. The unammiff/ of 

the officers and men in its expediency. 4th. The 

honorable terms nllowed; and lastly, the conlidenee 

in a generous enemy. 

HENRY HAMILTON, 

Lieut. Gov. and Superinfendent. 

It was on the twenty-fifth day of February, 1779, 
about ten o'clock in the forenoon, that the British 
troops marched out, and the Americans entered 
that Fort, acquired with tlie tact, skill, judgment, 
bravery, peril, and suffi3ring, which I have so briefly 
attempted to describe. The British ensign was 
hauled down, and the American flag waved above 
its ramparts ; that flag, 

" Within whose folds . 
Are wrapped, the trvjasurea of our hearts, 
Where e'er its waving sheet is fanned, 
, « By hreezes of the sea, or land." ] 



\ t| 



I 



r. 



38 



ADDRESS. 






• •i; 



I: 



Time would not permit me, my friends, to dwell 
on the important results growing out of this con- 
quest to our common country. A volume would he 
required to delineate fully, all the advantages which 
have been derived from it to that Union, a portion 
of which we now constitute. Calculate, if you can, 
the revenue which the government already has, 
and will continue to derive from its public domahi 
within the territory thus acquired. Bounded by 
tlie Lakes and the Miami on one side, and the Ohio 
and the Mississippi on the other, embracing thrw 
large States, witli a poi)ulation now of upwards of 
two millions, with a representation of six Senators 
in one branch of our National Councils, and eleven 
llepresentatives in the other; and which, within the 
last half century, was represented by a single Del- 
egate, but, in the next half century to come, will 
have fifty Representatives ; mild in its climate, rich 
in its soil, yielding in the abundance, variety, and 
excellence of its products, perhaps, a greater quan- 
tity than the same space of territory in the civilized 
world ; inhabited, and to be inhabited by a race of 
industrious, hard working, intelligent, high-minded, 
and patriotic people, attached to the institutions of 
their country; lovers of order, liberty and law; 
republicans in precepts and in practice; trained 
from their earliest infancy to revere and to ven- 
erate, to love knd to idolize the Constitution adopted 
by their fathers, for the government of themselves 
and their posterity;— calculate, if yoi* can) the in- 
crease within this territory, of just such a popular 
tion as I have described, "within sixty years to come 



ADDRESS. 



39 



—-its wealth, its influence, its power, its improve- 
ments, morally and socially — and when your minds 
are wearied in the immensity of the speculation, 
ask yourselves to whom all these blessings are to 
he attributed; and whether national gratitude, in 
the fullness of national wealth and prosperity, can 
find treasures enough to repay those gallant men, 
and those who aided them in their glorious struggle, 
which I have attempted feebly to describe. But T 
am warned by the time which I have already occu- 
pied, that this address should close — not that tin; 
subject is exhausted, or can be. No other, that I 
can conceive of, presents a finer field for the his- 
torian; and the few incidents whi(;h have been 
gathered here and there, "few and far between," in 
relation to our early history, but stimulates tx» fur- 
ther enquiry. A brief notice of the principal events 
which have occurred since the capture by Gen. 
Clark, and I shall close this long, and, I fear from 
the nature of the subject, to you on this occasion, 
uninteresting address. 

The first object to be obtained, after the fall of 
the Post, and the consequent change resulting from 
it, was the establishment of a civil government. 
Col. Clark returned to Kaskaskia, leaving Capt. 
Helm in command, both as civil and military com- 
mandant. The result of the campaign was made 
known as early as possible to the government of 
Virginia, and Col. Todd was sent out as the gov- 
ernor and commandant, by the Executive Council 
there. How long he remained, I do not know; 
probably long enough to form a provisional govern* 



ii 



40 



ADDRESS. 



'!. Jill: 



yi 



ment; for we find that he delegated his power to 
M. Legras, as Lieut. Governor, and proceeded to 
Kaskaskia. I have had no opportunity of ascer- 
taining from tlie records in Virginia, the continua- 
tion or names of the Governors after Todd, until 
the transfer of the territory to the United States, 
and the territorial government then formed under 
the act of Congress, 

The act of the Virginia Legislature, transferring 
the North- Western Territory to the United States, 
])assed on the 20th of December, 1783, and the 
Delegates on the part of Virginia, Thomas Jeffer- 
son, Samuel Hardy, Arthur Lee, and James Mad- 
ison, by their deed of cession, conveyed, on tlie first 
of March, 1784, "all the right, title, and interest of 
the State of Virginia in the country acquired north- 
west of the river Ohio, to the United States." And 
in 1787, the celebrated ordinance for its government 
was passed by Congress; an ordinance, which in its 
<?ffects, at least to us, is second only to the Consti- 
tution of the United States. An ordinance, which 
for its wise and wholesome provisions — ^for its ben- 
eficial and lasting results — for its effects not only 
upon those who were to be the immediate subjects 
of its action, but for the blessings and prosperity 
which it will carry down to the latest poster it}^, as 
long as we remain a part of the confederacy, is un- 
equalled by any legislative act ever framed here or 
elsewhere. The author of this act, Nathan Dane, 
of Massachusetts, for it alone, if he had done noth- 
ing more, deserves a place in our affections, and in 
those of our children to the latest generation. The 



SI!!: 



ADDRESS. 



41 



act provides, "that there shall bo neither slavery 
Tior involuntary servitude within the territory thus 
«edcd;" creates for its government, a Governor, 
-Secretary, and three Judges; the Judges with the 
Governor "to make laws for the territory, subject 
to the approval of Congress." 

The laws thus made were selected from the codes 
of other States, and applied to our local condition. 
They were few, but effective, and I doul>t much 
whether all subsequent legislation has been enabled 
to frame a code superior to that of the old territorial 
code. 

Gen. Ilarmar, then commanding in tho west, was 
appointed civil Governor and superintendent of In- 
dian affairs. He was here in 1787, and I believe, 
had charge of our civil affairs by himself or deputy, 
until 1790, when Gen. St. Clair was a]>p()intcd, and 
took command. He came here in 1791, and went 
to Kaskaskia, from whence he mado a long report 
to the Sccrebxrv of State in relation to the situation 
of atlairs hero. Some of his suggestions, consider- 
ing our present advanced state of imju-ovement, are 
singular enough. "He recommends the establish- 
ment of a printing press in the Western Territory," 
and gives as a reason, "that as tlie laws are not 
binding upon the people until a]>]iroved by Con- 
gress, there is- no way of giving publicity to them, 
but by having them read in the courts." " ]3ut few 
people," says he, "understand them, and even the 
magistrates who carry them into execution are per- 
fect strangers to them." There seems, however, to 
have been no great difficulty after all. The French 






I ii 



ADDRIM. f 



f 






complained that as the County Court was comiwsed 
of live justices, three of whom were Americans, and 
but two Frenchmen, whereas, the French popula- 
tion was treble that of the Americans, and there 
was occasionally a little leaning by their Honors, 
on the American side of the bench, towards thei' 
countrymen; and, as none of the American g(; 
epnors assigned to keep the peace, understood 
French, there was some difficulty in making their 
(rause fully understood. But there were no mobs, 
no tarring and feathering of the Judges, no pulling 
down the court-house. If the law was not well 
understood by these . modern Ivlansfields, they de- 
cided the case, ^'ex eqito ef hono^'' according to equity 
and good conscience ; and, in nine cases out of ten, 
no doubt, did more complete justice to all parties, 
than with a row of "gentlemen learned in the law'' 
before them, to (;onfuse them with their sophistry, 
or perplex them with a quibble. 

In 1800, Congress ])assed the act dividing the In- 
diana territory, from what was called the territory 
north-west of the river Ohio, and in 1801, Gen. 
William Henry Harrison was appointed Governor. 
There were at this period, but three settlements in 
the whole of this immense territory. The one at 
the Falls, called "Clark^s Grant," the one here, and 
the one on the Mississippi between Cahokia and 
Kaskaskia; the whole population of which did not 
exceed five thousand souls. It does not fall within 
the limits which I had assigned to this discourse, 
to trace our progress farther. The history of the 
town, the seat of government of the territory until 



IDDRESS. 



43 



1816, is the history of Indiana during that period: 
but the facts connected with it are familiar to you 
all. Suffice it to say, that our progress since liax 
been onward, and will continue to be, should we be 
true to ourselves and to the interests committed to 
our hands. 

Members of the "Vincennes Historical and An- 
tiquarian Society" and citizens of Vincennes, I have 
finished the task assigned me on this occasion — not 
by any means in the manner it should be, or, in- 
deed, in the manner I propose to finish it hereafter, 
if I have leisure. 

I have thrown together a few of the leading inci- 
dents of our history, fitted only to bo woven intc> 
an address on the present occasion. The historinu 
of our ancient borough, must gather for his work 
more materials than I have been furnished with, to 
d(» full justice to his subject. He should search tlie 
archives of other countries — of France, of England, 
the colonial records of Canada, and the revolution- 
ary ones of Virginia; in fine, devote to it more time, 
labor and research, than I have been enabled to do, 
in order to make it the work it should be. The 
history of this Post has been the history of the 
Western country. It has been the stake for which 
nations have played; the prize for which princes 
have contended — France, England, Virginia, and 
the States have, in turn, held it in subjection — ^have 
governed it with their laws, and regulated it with 
their codes, civil and military. Our position has 
been an important one, while our history, but little 
known, has been more full of stirring incident, of 



ii 



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lit 









111 



liii' 



"Mk 



ABDRESS. 



revolution, of bloodshed, and of battle, than the his- 
tory of any town on the continent. One hundred 
and thirty years since, we have seen it occupied a« 
A post in the wilderness, forming one link in tJie 
<»hain by ^.hicli France attempted to hold her pos- 
Hi^ssions in this country. Fnty years after, we have 
seen it yielding to British dominion and subject to 
IJritish power. The war of the revolution, and the 
.severing of those ties which bound us to our parent 
state, wrested it also from its conquerors. The 
braver> of Clark, and that of his compatriots in 
arms, formed a new era in its eventful career. It 
became the emporium of an empire — the seat of 
government of a territory now composing three 
large States. The history of our tov/n, since the 
division of the territory, is familiar to you all. But 
even since then it has not been without its interest. 
The same stern devotion to country, the same love 
■of liberty, the same valor and patriotism, has been 
displayed in modern times by its citizens, which 
gave to it an eclat in times gone by. The battle 
lield of Tijjpecanoe was fertilized by the blood of 
our brethren. And more daring, brave, and chiv- 
alrous and patriotic men never gathered under their 
45ouutry's banner, than rallied in its defence on that 
eventful field, from the town in which we are now 
assembled. 

And am I right in saying, thai the same spirit 
«till exists here? That should our country again 
make its call "to arms," that here, in the very cra- 
dle of liberty, oil this side of the AUeghanies, the 
a[tirit which animated Clark and his followers, has 



r^ 



i 



V 



ADDRESS. 



45 



%cen handed down to those whom I address ; and 
that if occasion offered, you would emulate them in 
the privations they underwent, the sufferiuju's they 
endured, and the glory they acq,uired? Am 1 riglit 
in saying this? Fellow-citizens, I know that I am 
ri()ht. The response to this question in the affirm- 
nti\ e, is answered by every breath that heaves from 
the bosoms of those who he. me. It is ans\\ered 
by the silent homage which you yourselves, on this 
occasion, have paid to bravery and patriotism, such 
as [ have delineated. 

Young men of this assembly, this feeling must bt^ 
kept alive — you must neither forget your origin or 
your destiny. Many of us will soon pass off the 
.*tage of action \- — 

•' The eterrml sm-go 
Of time and tide rolls on, nud boars ufar 
Our bubbles; and the old burstr new emerge, 
Lash'd from the foam of ages ; while the grave* 
Of empires heavo but like some passing waves.'*' 

G-ciueration after generation will succeed us. But 
kt it be ever impressed on your minds, and the 
minds of those who come after you to the latest 
posterity, that the same wisdom and valor which 
Airijuired the "Post," must always sustain^, jjrofeci 
and defend iL 



NOTES. 



I 



'M 



.1 . : I 
i : ,1 i, 



'ii'-i 



^'oTi-: A. 

Since the delivery of the foregoing address, I havo 
read Article I J, in the January number of the North 
American Bevieu\ being a review of the "Life of 
Father Marquette," by Jared Sparks — "Library of 
American Biography, Vol. 10th." The original 
work of Mr. Sparks, the "Life of Father Mar- 
quette," contained in the 10th volume of his Amer- 
ican Biograi)hy, I have never seen. 

The reviewer, however, in the article referred to, 
has, I conceive, made a sad mistake in relation to 
the "labor of love" of Father Mermet to the "Mas- 
coutens," a tribe of Indians now extinct, or, what is 
more probable, amalgamated with other tribes, and 
hence have lost their original appellation. The 
" Mascoutens" were a branch of the " Miamis" — vMe 
Mr. Gallatin's letter published in the " Transactions 
of the American Historical and Antiquarian So- 
<^iety;" they never lived on the Ohio, but occupied 
the country along Lake Michigan, and down the 
river Wabash. In page 90 of the article referred 
to, the reviewer says: "An attempt was also made 
to build up a settlement at the point where the Ohio 
and the Mississippi join, at all times, a favorite spot 
among the planners of towns, and at this moment. 






NOTES. 



47 



if we mistake not, in the process of being made a 
town. The first who tried this spot was Sieur 
Juchereau, a Canadian gentleman, assisted by Father 
Mennetj who was to christianize the Mascmitens^ of 
whom a large flock was soon gathered." The re- « 
viewer then goes on to describe ttie modus operandi 
by which Father Meiimet syllogistically undertook to 
confound the high priests of this deluded band, and 
gives an account of his conference with their prin- 
cipal medicine men, very similar to that given in 
tlie preceding address. Now the only matter in 
relation to which we differ is the venue. I assert 
tliat the conference and "theological discussion" 
took place on the banks of the Wabash, and not 
*'at the confluence of the Ohio .uul Mississippi;" 
and that it happened at the "Pust,"' or tiie ''0 
Poste,^^ (contraction for the French word "a?/,") or, 
]>ar excellence, "The Post Vincennes." And 1 be- 
lieve 1 prove it from two circumstances; the ont' 
referred to, to-wit: the "Mascoutens" were a branrli 
of the Miamis, and inhabited the country watered 
by the Wabash; they never occupied any portion 
of the country bordering on the Ohio. If the object 
of the good Father was, (as Father Marest states it 
was — and we both derive our account of the mattei* 
from him,) the conversion of the "Mascoutens," he 
would go where they dwelt, which was on the Wa- 
bash, and not on the Ohio; and if Father Mermot 
WHS with the Sieur Juchereau at the mouth of th<3 
Ohio, it is hardly credible, that the "Mascoutens" 
would "gather in a large flock from a distance of 
upwards of two hundred miles, from the banks of 



w- 



4a 



NOTESv 




!i;r 



the Wabash, to the confluence of the Ohio and the 
Mississippi, for the mere sake of a public discussion 
on "mooted points of theology," between their 
*• Medicine Men" and Father Mermet. They might 
follow the chase of their enemies that distance, but 
I doubt much, whether they would travel that far,, 
to learn whether tlie "Manitoji" of the Frenchman 
or the ''Manitou of the Mascouten" was the one to 
lie worshipped. 

In the second place, the French Imd no settlement 
on the Ohia in the early part of the 18th century — 
by a settlement I moan a fixed establishment, a gar- 
rison, a town. Sieur Juchereau, for aught I know, 
may have had a trading house there, but there was 
no regular French, establishment;, and, according to 
J^^atlier Marest, it was to such an establishment al- 
ready garrisoned — "a Fort," that Father Mermet 
went with the primary object of accomplishing the 
conversion of the "Mascoutens" to the true faith.. 
1 quote from the original letter of Father Marest to- 
Father Germon, volume 6th, page 333 of the ''/.f/- 
tret} Ed'tfiantes et Curieuses," dated Kaskaskia, No- 
vember Dth, 171L.. 

''Les Francok itoient Uahli un Fort sur lefleuve 
'OuABACHE,.' ih demanderent un lu'mouaire; et k 
Fere Mermet leiirfut envoy e.. Ce Fere crut devoir 
travailler a la conversion des Mascot, tens qui avoient 
fait un village sur les lords duineme fleuve — c^est wm 
nation Indians qui entend la langue Illvnoisey 

Now I have mentioned the fact, and given the 
reasons why the Ohio was called "Ouabache" by 
the same Father, and by others, a reason, as it ap^ 



i 



NOTES. 



49 



pears to me perfectly satisfactory. And as the 
French settled Vincennes, and established a Fort 
there early in the 18th century; and as the "Mas- 
coutens" were located on that stream, and not on 
the Ohio, and being a branch of the Miamis, and a 
portion of the Algonquin race, of course supposed 
to understand the ^^Illinoise" I think it conclusive 
that the "local" of Father Mermet's labors was the 
'•Post" or "Fort" at Vincennes, and not the site at 
the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi, where 
Sieur Juchereau may, or may not, have made a set- 
tlement. At any rate, until some further evidence 
is produced, I shall, as I have done in the text, 
claim the honor of Father Mermet's first visit for 
"Post VvMeivnes^ 

Note B. 

It was a very difficult matter to induce the French 
inhabitants at Kaskaskia, after Clark's arrival there 
and capture of the place, to take the "Continental 
paper," which Clark and his soldiers had brought 
along with them; and it was not until after Col. 
Vigo went there and gave his guaranty for its re- 
demption, that they would genera^y receive it. 
Peltries and piastres were the only cun'ency known 
to these simple and unsophisticated Frenchmen. 
They could neither read nor write, and Col. Vigo 
had great difficulty in explaining the operations of 
this new financial arrangement to them. " Their 
commandants never made money," was the only 
reply to the Colonel's explanations of the policy of 
the "Old Dominion" in these issues. But notwith- 
4 



50 



NOTES. 






lii 

1-1 ' 






standing the Colonel's guaranty, the paper was not 
in good credit, and ultimately became very much 
depreciated. The Colonel had a trading establish- 
ment at Kaskaskia after Clark's arrival. Coffee 
was one dollar per pound. The poor Frenchman 
coming to purchase, was asked "what kind of pay- 
ment he intended to make for it? " '■^Banlenr,^'' said 
he. And when it is recollected that it took about 
twenty continental dollars to purchase a silver dol- 
lar's worth of coffee, and that the French word 
^^douleur" signifies "grief," or "pain," perhajis no 
word, either in the French or English languages, 
expressed the idea more correctly, than "f/ow7ci/r" 
for "continental dollars." At any rate, it was truly 
^Uloulmr^^ to the Colonel ; for he never received a 
sinffle dollar in exchange for the large amount he had 
taken in order to sustain Clark's credit. The above 
anecdote I had from the Colonel's own lips. 



9 »! t 



Mi! ■' 

J'i,' 
if 



Note C. 

I am indebted, and much indebted, to my friend 
Prof. Bliss, of Louisville, Kentucky, for the letters 
of Gen. Clark, and the extract from Major Bow- 
man's journa^l^f the capture of Vincennes, now for 
the first time published. I cannot but again repeat, 
what I have in the address so pointedly remarked, 
how little is known of the campaign of 1778, 1779, 
and the capture of Kaskaskia and Vincennes by 
Clark and his gallant followers. With the excej)- 
tion of a short notice of this in "Marshall's Lite of 
Washington," and the more extended one of But- 
ler in his "History of Kentucky," a modern work, 



NOTES. 



61 



the incidents of that campaign are hardly noticed. 
Yet it was, as it regards its ultimate effects to the 
Union, decidedly the most brilliant and useful, of 
any undertaking during the revolutionary war. — 
Clark by that campaign added a territory em- 
bracing three of the finest States in the Union, 
to the Confederacy, to-wit: Indiana, Illinois, and 
Michigan; a territory, which, but for this very con- 
quest, must now have been subject to British do- 
minion, unless like Louisiana, it had since been 
acquired by purchase. For the only pretence of 
title which our commissioners, in the negotiations 
which resulted in the treaty of peace in 1783, set up 
to this immense territory, was "the capture of it by 
Clark, and the possession of it by the Americans at 
the date of the conference." The argument of "«/"/ 
possidetis''^ prevailed; and the mind would be lost in 
the calculation of dollars and cents, to' Siay nothing 
of the other matters " which constitnta a State," — 
men "who kiiow their rights" inhabiting it, and 
which the government has gained from the contest — 
as to what will be the wealth and population of this 
same North- Western Territory a half century hence. 

Most of the facts connected with the capture of 
Kaskaskia are derived from "Butler's History of 
Kentucky," a new edition of which has lately been 
published. It is a very useful and valuable work, 
and contains more incidents connected with western 
history, particularly the campaign of Clark in Illi- 
nois in 1778-'9, than any other work heretofore pub- 
lished. '^•-- - '■•'^ ■ - ■■ "'^^'"- (''■'-■■' -■ ••' ' 

Since the first publication of this address, my 



T 



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M. 



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'4 M 



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52 



NOTES. 



friend, Professor Bliss, was killed in a rencounter at 
Louisville. Of the circumstances attending his 
death, I am not sufficiently informed ta give the 
particulars, nor would it be at this late period 
proper for me to do so, even were it in my power 
to detail them. All who knew him will admit that 
a more amiable, intelligent, and high minded man 
never existed, and none whose death, under the 
circumstances attending it, was ever more lamented. 
'''• Requiescat mpace." At the time of his death he 
was preparing for publication the "Life of General 
George Rogers Clark," and had been for several 
years acquiring the materials to enable him to do 
so. It is much to be regretted that in the dispen- 
sations of Proyidence, he was not spared to finish 
the work. I knew no man more capable of such an 
undertaking; and I have no doubt had he lived, we 
should have been furnished with a life of General 
Clark, which not only would have done justice to 
that great man, but have been highly creditable to 
the author. What became of the materials which 
he had with great labor collected for the undertak- 
ing, I do not know. If in the hands of his friends,, 
they should be carefully preserved for the use v.f 
some future historian. The life of ''General Clark" 
would be a national worky and it is to be hoped that 
some western Preseott or Bancroft will, ere the ma- 
terials are lost, get hold of them and furnish u& 
with one of the mo»t interesting volumes that has 
ever been printed. J Vnow of no work that would 
be more eagerly sought for in the west — the field of 
his patriotiam, enterprise, and valor. 



1 



m 



APPENDIX. 



I 

i: 



FATHER GIBAULT. 

■SERVICES TO CLARK AND HIS PATRIOTISM BUT POORLY COMPENSATED. 

Pierre Gibault, Parish Priest at Vincennes, and 
occasionally performing his apostolie duties on the 
Mississippi, was at Kaskaskia in 1778-9, when Gen. 
Clark captured that place. The services he ren- 
dered Clark in that campaign, which were acknowl- 
ijdged by a resolution of the Legislature of Virginia, 
in 1780 — ^his patriotism, his sacrifices, his courage 
and love of liberty, require of me a fuller notice of 
this good man and pure patriot, than I have been 
•enabled to give in the published address. Father 
Gibault was a Jesuit missionary to the Illinois at 
an early period, and had the curacy of the parish at 
Kaskaskia when Clark took possession of that post; 
and no man has paid a more sincere tribute to 
the services rendered by Father Gibault to the 
American cause, than Clark himself. It was a 
matter of deep importance, especially after the 
arrest of Rochblave, the commandant at Kaskaskia, 
for Clark to conciliate, if possible, the ancient in- 
habitants residing at Kaskaskia, This he effectu- 



&1 



APPENDIX. 



liHi: 



m^i 



ii! 



M 
lis* 






' ■ , f: 






ally did through the agency of Father Gibault. 
Through his influence, not only were the French 
population of Kaskaskia induced to supply the 
troops with provisions and other necessaries, but to 
receiA'^e the depreciated continental paper currency 
of Virginia at par, for all supplies thus furnished, 
Vigo adding his guaranty for its redemption, and 
receiving it doHar for dollar, not only from the sol- 
diers, but from the inhabitants, until it became en- 
tirely worthless. Father Gibault, but especially 
Vigo, had on hand at the close of the campaign, 
more than twenty thousand dollars of this worth- 
less trash, (the only funds, however, which Clark 
had in his military chest,) and not one dollar of 
which was ever redeemed, either for Vigo or Father 
Gibault, who, for this worthless trash, disposed 
"of all his cattle, and the tithes of his parish- 
oners," in order to sustain Clark and his troops, 
without which aid they must have surrendered, 
surrounded as they were, by the Indian allies of the 
British, and deprived of all resources but those fur- 
nished by the French inhabitants, through the per- 
suasion of Vigo and Father Gibault. But more 
than thif,. Through the influence of these men, 
when Clark left Kaskaskia for the purpose of cap- 
turing Hamilton and his men at post Vincennes, a 
company of fifty young Frenchmen was raised at 
Kaskaskia, who joined Clark's troops, under the 
command of Captain Charlevoix, who shared in all 
the perils and honors of that glorious campaign, 
which ended in the capture of the Post, and the sur- 
render of Hamilton, an event more important in its 



FATHER OIBAULT. 



65 



totiseqiiences than any other occurring during our 
revolutionary struggle. 

It was entirely through the means of Father 
Gibault that Hamilton released Col. Vigo, when 
«ent by Clark to ascertain the true situation of 
affairs at Vincennes. He was captured by the In- 
dians and taken to "Fort Sackville," where he was 
kept a prisoner on parole for many weeks, and re- 
leased, entirely by the interference of Father Gi- 
bault, and the declaration of the French inhabitants 
at Vincennes, who, with their priest at their head, 
after service on the Sabbath, marched to the fort 
and informed Hamilton "they would refuse all sup- 
plies to the garrison unless Vigo was released." 
Of that release, and the important effect of Vigo's 
information to Clark on his return to Kaskaskia, in 
reference to the cp,pture of the Post by Hamilton, I 
have already spoken. Next to Clark and Vigo, the 
United States are indebted more to Father Gibault 
for the accession of tho States, comprised in what 
Avas the original North-Western Territory, than to 
any other man. The following memorial from this 
excellent man, to Gen. St. Clair, then Governor of 
the North- Western Territory, dated "Kahokia, 
May 1, 1790," so true, so delicate, so modest, so 
unassuming, so free from self-laudation, so perfectly 
characteristic of this good father, deserves publica- 
tion in connection with the facts above described, in 
reference to his services to the Government, in the 
most trying jjeriod of its colonial history: 

"Kahokia, May 1st, 1790. 

The undersigned, memorialist, has the honor to 



APPENDIX. 



« ■ 
iS ,11 



I 



i 






»■*■■ 



represent to your excellency, that from the moment 
of the conquest of the Illinois country, by CoL 
George Rogers Clark, he has not been backward 
in venturing his life, on the many occasions in 
which he found that his presence was useful, and 
at all times sacrificing his property, which he gave 
for the support of the troops, at the same price that 
he could have received in Spanish milled dollars, and 
for which, however, he has received only paper doU 
Uirs, (continental currency,) of which he has had no 
information since he sent them, addressed to the 
Commissioner of Congress, who required a state- 
ment of the depreciation of them at the Belle Riviere, 
(Ohio river) in 1783, with an express promise in 
reply, that particular attention should be paid to his 
account, because it was well known to be in no wise 
exaggerated. In reality, he parted with his tithes 
and his beasts, only to set an example to his par- 
ishoners, who began to perceive that it was in- 
tended to pillage them and abandon them after- 
wards, which really took place. The want of seven 
thousand eight hundred livres, (or upwards of $1,- 
600 our cuiTency,) of the non-payment of which the 
American notes has deprived him the use, has 
obliged him to sell two good slaves, who would now 
be the support of his old age, and for the want 
of whom, he now finds himself dependent on the 
public, who, although well served, are very rarely 
led to jkeep their promises, except that part who, em- 
ploying their time in such service, are supported by 
the secular power, that is to say, by the civil govr 
^ument. 









FATHER OIBAULT. 



67 



The love of country and of liberty has also led 
your memorialist to reject all the advantages oifered 
him by the Spanish government; and he endeav- 
ored by every means in his power, by exertions and 
exhortations, and by letters to the principal inhab- 
itants, to retain every person in the dominion of the 
United States in expectation of better times, and 
giving them to understand that our lives and prop- 
erty having been employed twelve years in the 
aggrandizement and preservation of the United 
States, would at last receive an acknowledgment, 
and be compensated by the enlightened and upright 
ministers, who sooner or later would come to exam- 
ine into, and relieve us from our situation. We 
begin to see the accomplishment of these hopes, 
under the happy government of your excellency, 
and as your memorialist has every reason to be- 
lieve, from proofs which would bo too long to ex- 
plain here, you are one of the number who have 
been the most forward, in risking their lifes and for- 
tunes for their country. 

He also hopes that his demand will be listened 
to favorably. It is this: The missionaries, like 
lords, have at all times possessed two tracts of 
land near this village; one three acres in front, 
which produces but little hay, three-quarters being 
useless by a great morass; the other of two acres in 
front, which may be cultivated, and which the me- 
morialist will have cultivated with care, and pro- 
poses to have a dwelling erected on it, with a yard 
and orchard, in case his claim is accepted. Your 
excellency may think, perhaps, that this might in- 



w 



rm 



58 



APPENDIX. * 



m 






If: 



'■ *> 



Si 
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t 



^'^ 



jure some of the inhabitants, but it will not. It 
would be difficult to hire them to cause an enclosure 
to be made of the size of these tracts, so much land 
have they more than they cultivate. May it please 
your excellency then, to grant them to your memo- 
rialist as belonging to the domain of the United 
States, and give him a concession, to be enjoyed in 
full propriety in his private name, and not as mis- 
sionary and priest, to pass to his successor; other- 
wise, the memorialist will not accept it. 

It ii. for the services he has already rendered, 
and those which he still hopes to render, as far as 
circumstances may offer, and he may be capable, 
and particularly on the bounty with which you re- 
lieve those who stand in need of assistance, that he 
founds his demand. In hopes of being soon of the 
number of those who praise heaven for your fortu- 
nate arrival in this country, and who desire your 
prosperity in everything, your memorialist has the 
honor of being, with the most profound respect, 
Your excellency's most obedient 
and most humble servant. 
"P. GIBAUI.T, Priest 

" To li is excellency, Arthur St. Clair, 
Major General of the Army cf the United States, and 

Governor of the Territory possessed by the United 

States, north-west of the river Ohio, d-c, d^c." 

Whether "a concession to be enjoyed in full pro- 
priety" by the venerated father, "in his private 
name, and not as missionary and priest, of the two 
acres in front of the village of Kahokia," on which he 
proposed to have "a dwelling erected, with a gar- 



W' 



i 



FATHER GIBAULT. 



59 



den and orchard on it," was ever made, I do not 
know; if there was, there is no record of it. Gov* 
St. Clair, in his report to Mr. Jefferson, Secretary 
of State, in 1791, makes the following remarks in 
relation to this memorial : 

" jS'o. 24 is the request of ^Mr. Gibault, for a small 
piece of land that has long been in the occupation 
of the priests at Kahokia, having been assigned 
them by the French, but he wishes to possess it in 
propriety, and it is true that he was very useful to 
Gen. Clark upon many occasions, and has suffered 
very heavy losses. I believe no injury would be 
done to any one by his request being granted, but 
it was not for me to give away the lands of the Uni- 
ted States." 

In the concessions made by Winthrop Sargent, 
at the "town at post Vincenncs," while acting as 
Crovernor in place of Gen. St. Clair, I find the fol- 
lowing concession made in July, 1790: "Rev. Peter 
Gibault, a lot about fourteen toises, one side to Mr. 
I^Iillet, another to Mr. Vaudrey, ami to two streets." 
Rather an indefinite description of the boundaries ; 
but the "ambitious city" of 1856, I presume in 
1790, had neither a Mayor, or City Engineer, to 
run out the good father's lines. Judging from the 
description of the concessions as then made, it would 
be somewhat troublesome in these modern times, to 
find them. A few examples may not be uninter- 
esting, as evidencing the loose mode in which sur- 
veys of town lots were made nearly seventy years 
since, at the "0 Post:" 

"TAe widow of Peter Grrimare — ^A house and lot, 



60 



APPEKOIZ. 



S 



•■I' 



i'S..; 



the boundaries not expressed^ but to be surveyed 
Agreably UiposaessUm, not wterfermg vMh the streets." 

^^For the CAmtcA— Four arpents front upon the 
Wabash, by the usual depth; a lot where the church 
stands, about twenty toises, for the church or Mr. 
Antoine Gamelin." 

^^Liike Decker — ^A lot twenty-five toises by fifty- 
one, side to Sullivan, and three sides to streets; a 
tract of two acres in front by forty deep, on river 
dv, Ch% one side to Martin. This tract is said to 
have been by French concession, but none has been 
l)roduced. His house is built thereon." 

^^ Robert Buntin—A. house and lot in Vincennes, 
front to the Wabash, back to the Indian fields^ one 
side by Maonaman, on the other hy Francis the Cats- 
paw, about one acre in length each way." 

Among the numerous concessions made to T%o, 
we find the following: 

"Three pieces of land in the old Indian village, 
sold by Montour and other chiefs to Spring and 
Busseron, in May, 1786." 

"Five pieces of land formerly held by the Kettle 
Carrier, sold by Quiquilaquia, the grand son of Ket- 
tle Carrier, with the approbation of Montour and the 
other chiefs." 

"Five pieces of land in the old Piankeshaw town 
at Vincennes, sold by Montour." 

^^ Henry Vandei'burgh — A piece of land, twelve 
arpents more or less, a part of sundry fields, for- 
merly the lands of the Fiankeshaws, lying at the east 
of the VILLAGE. A piece of land containing two 
fields joining each other, on the old .Indian village. 



m 



HAMILTON. 



61 



sixty toises on one side, forty on the other, bounded 
in front by the street where Du Beta lives, and on 
the rear partly by the fields of AUebomane, and 
partly by that of Nisbrache, part of Samuel Brad- 
ley's land on one side, and on the other the field of 
Saspacona and Nez du Carlin, sold by Nez du Car- 
lin to Pierre Gamelin." 

It would be very difficult for a surveyor, with 
chain and compass at the present tinier to run out 
these ancient boundaries. 



1 



II. 

HAMILTON. 

r HIS IMPRISONMENT AND CAREER AFTER HIS CAPTURE BY CLARI. 

At the surrender of Burgoyne, in 1777, about four 
thousand British troops fell prisoners of war, into 
the hands of the Americans. By the capitulation^ 
tiiey were to remain prisoners in the hands of the 
Americans until arrangements were made between 
tiic mother country and ours^ in relation to ex- 
changes of prisoners. They were first ordered to 
I^oston, where they remained about a year, and 
were then ordered to Charlottesville, in Virginia, 
near to Montieello, for greater security. They ar* 
rived there in January, 1779, and aside from the 
liardships of a long journey by land, in the midst of 
winter, to their destination, they found themselves 
with barracks unfinished, with a great insufficiency 



62 



APPENDIX. 



m 



^^r 



of provisions, and with but a jjoor prospect of siip- 
))lies. Great alarm was excited among the inhab- 
itants by this accession to their jiopulation, and 
great fears were entertained lest a famine should 
be created, this portion of Virginia then being but 
])oorly supplied with bread, and other articles of 
necessity for its own use. Through the influence 
of Jefferson, then at Monticello, and his appeals to 
the planters, all their wants were fully supplied. 
J^ot only this, but he personally engaged in pro- 
viding barracks for the men and quarters for the 
oflftcers. It is true they were the enemies of his 
country, but they were human beings, and in his 
judgment, as much entitled to those kindly offices 
due to his fellow-men in distress, and prisoners of 
war, as those of his countrymen would be, united 
though they were, by the strong ties of national 
alliance and affection. No means were left un- 
tried by this great and good man, to render the 
situation of these captives as comfortable as circum- 
stances would allow. Aided by the philanthropy 
of his fellow citizens, to whom he made more than 
one appeal, and by the humane and generous dis- 
position of the commissary, his entreaties were 
crowned with success. The barracks were com- 
fortably fitted up, and a plentiful supply of provis- 
ions furnished the prisoners. All this had hardly 
been effected, when Governor Henry, who had been 
invested by Congress with certain discretionary 
powers over these ^''convention troops,^^ (as they Were 
called,) alledging the inability of the State to supply 
them, determined to remove them from Charlottes- 






HAMILTON. 



63 



ville. This intelligence produced the greatest re- 
gret and disappointment among the prisoners. — 
They complained against the inhumanity of the 
order, charged the government with a want of good 
faith, and gave evident symptoms of a mutiny. 
The citizens of Charlottesville strongly disapproved 
of the measure, and received the proposition with 
regret and disapprobation. Mr. Jefferson coincided 
with them, and addressed a long and elaborate let- 
ter to Gov. Henry, suggesting that such an act 
would be indicative of bad faith and "a character of 
unsteadiness and imbecility, and, what was worse, 
of cruelty in the councils of the nation." In con- 
formity with these views, the proposition was aban- 
doned, and the prisoners permitted to remain at 
Charlottesville The effect of this conduct of Mr. 
Jefferson, his universal kindness to the men, and 
his uniform amenity and courtesy to the officers, 
endeared all to him ; so that when exchanged, both 
men and officers, on taking leave at Charlottes- 
ville, addressed him verbally and by letters, ex- 
pressing their gratitude and good feeling, and 
bidding him an affectionate adieu. Speaking of 
Mr. Jefferson's conduct on that occasion, a French 
historian narrating the circumstances, beautifully 
says: "Surely, this innocent and bloodless con- 
quest over the minds of men, whose swords had 
been originally hired to the oppressors of America, 
was in itself scarcely less glorious, though in its 
effects less extensively beneficial, than the splendid 
train of victories which had disarmed their hands." 
I mention these circumstances in order to draw a 



n 



1 



64 



APPENDEC. 



ill 



.' 'h» 



J.)'. . 



ii. 



, ill 



ill 



parallel between the conduct of our people, and 
those of the British on similar occasions during the 
war of the Revolution, when the Americans fell into 
their hands. Through the whole course of that 
contest, whenever the fortune of war placed our 
people in their power, their treatment to them was 
savage in the extreme, and unprecedented in the 
history of civilized nations. On our side, the treat- 
ment of British prisoners was uniformly marked 
with moderation, and kind, good feeling. We were, 
like our foes, children from a common stock, of the 
same blood, speaking the same language. When 
they yielded to our arms — became prisoners of war 
— we supplied them on all occasions with the neo- 
essaries of life, such as our fathers themselves were 
accustomed to, with comfortable quarters. We per- 
mitted them to live in American families, on their 
parole to range at large, to labor for themselves* 
hold and enjoy property, participating in the ben- 
efits of society while sharing none of its burdens. 
To their officers captured ours were always hospita- 
ble, always courteous. If any one doubts this, let 
him read the letters of Gen. Phillips, Baron Rud- 
i.sel, and others, who surrendered themselves pris- 
oners with Burgoyne's army, after their exchange, 
addressed to the officers of the continental army, 
expressive of their lasting attachment and grati- 
tude, and bidding them an affectionate adieu. — 
While on the other hand, is it *iot a matter of 
history, that British officers, civil and military* 
throughout the whole war, had pursued a most sav* 
age and relentless course towards all who fell into 






I 



i 



? 



HAMILTON. 



65 



their hands — ^that they loaded with irons all Amer- 
ican officers and soldiers captured by them, making 
no distinction between them, as they acknowledged 
none, all were rebels — ^that they consigned them to 
prison-ships, crowded gaols, and loathsome dun- 
geons, often without food, or when supplied, with 
quantities that were small, unsound and loathsome 
— that the wounded were uncared for and unat- 
tended, the sick unprovided for — that our men were 
transported beyond seas, or compelled by brute 
force to take arms against their countrymen, and 
by a refinement in cruelty unknown to the cannibals 
of New Zealand, to become the murderers of their 
brethren? All these things were known and felt 
then. History has recorded in bloody pages the 
Briton's wrath, the Briton's malice, and murder of 
our countrymen. 

Mr. Jeflferson, than whom no one who took part 
in our revolutionary contest knew better the con- 
trast between the conduct of the two belligerents 
than he did, and from personal observation, was 
elected Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, 
in June, 1779. The executive of that great State, 
elected by the unanimous vote of her people to take 
the helm, in the most critical situation of her affairs, 
had no sooner taken possession of the executive 
chair, than "he felt himself impelled by a sense of 
public justice, to substitute a system of vigorous 
retaliation." In the language of his own impres- 
sive order, "he felt called on by that justice we owe 
to those fighting the battles of our country, to deal 
out miseries to their enemies, measure for measure, 

6 



I 



,il. 



66 



APPENDIX. 



and to distress the feelings of mankind by exhibit* 
ing to them spectacles of severe retaliation, where 
he had long and vainly endeavored to introduce an 
emulation in kindness." 

Singular enough, the "fortune of war" and the 
conquest of Clark had placed in his hands some of 
those very individuals, who having distinguished 
themselves above their fellows in the practice of the 
most atrocious cruelties; who had whetted the scalp- 
ing knife of the Indian, who, in this remotest west, 
had planned and plotted the massacre of the fron- 
tiersman, "and fattened their cornfields" with the 
blood of their wives and children, and who, more 
cruel than the savages whom they had incited to 
murder and rapine, were on this account proper sub- 
jects on which to begin the ^''ork of retaliation. 
Henry Hamilton, whose capture by Clark at "Post 
Vincennes," on the 24th of February, 1779, is briefly 
noted with its attending circumstances, in the ad- 
di'ess to which this note is appended, and who for 
some years before his surprise of that Post, and the 
capture of Helms, had acted as Lieutenant and 
Governor of the British possessions at Detroit under 
Sir Geo. Carleton; Phillip Dejean, Justice of the 
Peace for Detroit, and William Lamothe, Captain 
of Volunteers, taken prisoners of war by Clark, had 
been sent under guard by him to Williamsburgh 
early in June, 1779. Proclamations — under his mon 
handf offering a specific sum for every American 
acalp brought into the camp, either by hia own 
iaroops, or his allies, the Indians, and from this 
fieuit denominated the "Haib-Buyeb General" bj 



W'.Jl'' 



HAMILTON. 



67 



Clark in his proclamation to tho French inhabi- 
tants of Vineennes — as well as the concurrent tes- 
timony of many unprejudiced witnesses, all prove 
Governor Hamilton a remorseless destroyer of not 
only men, but of innocent and unoffending women 
and children. A cruel, heartless and savage mon- 
ster, instead of an open and honorable enemy. He 
not only excited the savage to perpetrate their ac- 
customed atrocities upon the citizens of the United 
8tates, but with a blood-thirsty barbarity of which 
history in modern times gives but few examples, he 
exhibited such an eagerness and ingenuity in plan- 
ning these murderous forays, as evidenced, that the 
hunting and scalping of this human game harmon- 
ized with his own peculiar and savage instincts. 
While he gave a standing premium for scalps, he 
offered no reward for prisoners, so that his Indian 
allies, after forcing their prisoners to carry their 
plunder into the neighborhood of the Fort, butch- 
ered their captives, and carried their scalps to the 
Governor, who welcomed their return and success 
with a salvo of cannon, and an abundant supply of 
" fire-water." Even the few Americans who were 
spared by these blood-hounds, were doomed by Ham- 
ilton to a series of lingering and complicated tor- 
tures, worse even than those inflicted by his savage 
allies, and ending finally in their death. Dejean 
and Lamothe were, as it is well known, the ready 
instruments of Hamilton's vengeance. The former 
acting in the double capacity of judge and jailor to 
the tyrant; the other as a commander of the vol- 
unteer scalping parties of Indians and whites, spar- 



'I 
1! 



IT 



tJ8 



APPENDIX. 



It 



lit 



M 



x'liM 






;V4 






ing neither age nor sex, but devoting all to indiscrim- 
inate slaughter, and by his own example stimulat- 
ing the barbarian ferocity and cruelty of his savage 
«;«mpeers. (See Jefferson's works, vol. 1st, appen- 
dix A.) 

I have myself been ii med by some of the 
^^ ancient inhabitants'^ of the Post, long since gath- 
ered to their fathers, but who were old enough at 
the time of Clark's capture of the Post, to recol- 
lect the circumstances attending it, that after the 
surrender, the English flag was kept flying, and 
that from the large stores of clothing on hand, Clark 
<lressed some of his men in red, the uniform of the 
British soldiers, and placing a sentry with British 
imiform at the gate of the fort, after directing the 
French inhabitants to give no intimation of the 
surrender, awaited the arrival of the Indians, who 
were on one of their murderous forays to the south- 
side of the Ohio, and were to return to Vincennes to 
join Hamilton in his meditated campaign in the Illi- 
nois, for the purpose of attacking Clark and his troops 
at Kaskaskia. Sullen and silent, with the scalp-lock 
of his victims hanging at his girdle, and in full ex- 
pectation of his reward from Hamilton, the unwary 
savage, unconscious of danger, and wholly ignorant 
of the change that had been eflfected in his absence, 
passed the supposed British sentry at the gate of 
the fort, without enquiry or molestation. But the 
moment he had entered, a volley from the rifles of 
a platoon of Clark's men, drawn up and awaiting 
his coming, pierced their hearts, and sent the 
unconscious savage, reeking with murder, to that 



HAMILTON. 



m 



4 

I 



n 



tribunal to which he had so frequently, by order of 
Hamilton sent his American captives, from the 
infant in the cradle, to the grandfather of the fam- 
ily, tottering with age and infirmity. It was a just 
retributimi, and few men but Clark would have 
planned the ruie, or carried it out so successfully. 
It is reported that upwards of fifty Indians met this 
fate within the walls of "Fort Sackville" after its 
surrender by Hamilton. It is easy to judge what 
must have been the feelings of the " Hair-Buyer 
General," who was in the fort a prisoner, and no 
doubt a witness of these transactions. 

Mr. Jefferson, then Grovernor of Virginia, having 
in his possession these three prominent sulyjects of his 
Britanic majesty, captured by American enterprise 
and valor unequalled in any campaign during our 
revolutionary contest, was well aware of the atroci- 
ties committed by them, and by their Indian allies, 
on our western frontiers by their orders. And sen- 
sible as he was that acts of kindness and generosity to 
the vanquished, had been met on the part of the 
enemy by continued and wanton outrages — by con- 
duct towards the American prisoners, who fell into 
the hands of their opponents, at variance with 
every law human and divine, and contrary to every 
rule exercised and acted upon by civilized nations — 
he determined to try the force of example. He ac- 
cordingly issued an order, by advice of his council, 
directing that Hamilton, Dejean and Lamothe 
"should be put in irons— confined in a dungeon — 
deprived of the use of pen, ink and paper, and ex- 
cluded from all conversation except with their keep- 



M 



w 



70 



APPENDIX. 




I *. 



•:'•■■■ 












ill 



if . 

■1" 



er." Maj. General Phillips, second in command 
under Burgoyne at his capture, and who himself 
was then a prisoner of war, on pai'ole in the vicinity 
of Charlottesville, on hearing of the order imme- 
diately remonstrated. In his letter to Mr. Jeifer- 
son in regard to this order, he "endeavored to in. 
validate the testimony against Hamilton — expres- 
sed great doubts whether any sinf/le State of the 
Confederacy had authority to make an order of 
retaliation, asserting that Congress alone possessed 
the power — dwelt largely on the sacred nature of 
capitulation, which, in the case of the prisoners, he 
contended exempted them from the severe punish- 
ment awarded, whatever their previous conduct 
might have been, and finally wound up in the fol- 
lowing flattering appeal . "That from his (Phillips,) 
residence in Virginia he had conceived the most 
favorable idea of the gentlemen of this country, and 
from his personal acquaintance with Mr. Jefferson, 
he was led to imagine it must have been very dis- 
sonant to his feelings, to inflict such a weight of 
misery and stigma of disgrace upon the unfortunate 
gentlemen in question." Whatever Mr. Jefl*erson's 
private feelings may have been — and no one knew 
better than Gen. Phillips what they were — ^he had 
a duty to perform, which required in this case a 
stern subordination of them to the service of his 
country, and the good of mankind. There could 
be no better principle of international law settled 
and acknowledged, than that all persons taken in 
war — ^>vhether their surrender was by capitulation 
or by discretion — ^were, by all the rules of war, j^ria- 



HAMILTON. 



71 



oners, and liable to the same treatment— except, 
only so far as they were protected by the express 
terms of capitulation. In the surrender of Hamil- 
ton, no such exception was made — ^the terms of it 
are set forth in the address, to which these notes are 
appended. In signing his capitulation, Hamilton 
had set out a flourish of reasons, it is true: "Re- 
moteness of succor — the state of his prisoners — un- 
animitij of his officers and men, in advising a sur- 
render;" and last, but not least, "the honwahk 
terms allowed, and his confidence in a generous en- 
emy." What these honorable terms were, the reader 
will ascertain readily, by reading the address in 
which they are set out. They were simply those 
granted in case of an unconditional surrender. No 
exceptions whatever were made, and Mr. Jefferson 
continued in the belief that the capitulation did not 
exempt Hamilton and his associates from confine- 
ment. In a national point of mew, however, his 
conduct, it was feared, might be questioned, and his 
high sense of propriety induced him to submit the 
question to the Commander-in-Chief. Gen. Wash- 
ington approved of his conduct, but with his great 
prudence, having some doubts as to the real bearing 
and extent of the terms of the capitulation, and 
having a sacred respect for the laws and usages of 
nations, he recommended to Mr. Jefferson a relax- 
ation of the severities imposed on the captives. 
After a fair trial of the effect of the proceeding in 
ameliorating the condition of the American prison- 
ers, then in the hands of our enemies, a serious 
warning would be given to the British Government 



111; 



:),' nn 



APPENDIX. 



i'£mi 




3 



;?)». 



i 



by the act in question, Virginia would hare it in 
her power to repeat it. Reformation might be pro- 
duced, and then the necessity of individual chas- 
tisement for na^io?ial barbarities removed. This 
advice of the "Father of his Country." accorded 
well with the better dictates of Mr. Jefferson's 
heart, and without compromising the right, he 
issued a second order of council, mitigating the 
severity of the first. A parole was drawn up and 
tendered to Hamilton and his fellow-prisoners. It 
required them to ^'^ inoffensive in word and deed. 
To this they objected, insisting on abusing the Reb- 
els as much as they pleased verhally. They were 
remanded to their prison ; but with their irons re- 
moved. Dejean and Lamothe soon after subscribed 
the parole, but Hamilton remained obstinate ; but 
upon being informed by General Phillips, who had 
been exchanged, that his further confinement would 
be entirely gratuitmis, he finally with great reluc- 
timce yielded. These stern but necessary meas- 
ures, had the desired effect in time. At first the 
British threatened retaliation in the severest mode. 
They issued a proclamation "That no oftieers of the? 
Virginia line should be exchanged, until Hamilton's 
affair should be settled satisfactorily." Wiien this 
was received, Mr. Jefferson at once ordered all ex- 
change of British prisoner's to be stopped, with a 
determination expressed, to use them as pledges for 
the safety of the American prisoners in the hands 
of the enemy. The practical applicp.tion, however, 
of such a k^son had its effect upon the enemy dur- 
ing the subsequent progress of the war. British 



HAMILTON. 



73 



pretension was finally forced to yield to the cries of 
their own countrymen, and the admonitions of ex- 
perience. What ultimately became of this trio of 
distinguished officials, I have never been able to 
ascertain. It is more than probable that before the 
close of the war, they were exchanged for much 
better men. They probably all three returned to 
Canada — Hamilton it is certain did. He was at 
Quebec after the peace in 1783, as Lieut. Governor, 
disposing of American property, without a shadow of 
right to do so, to British subjects, as late as the year 
1785. For in the examination of the claims to 
lots granted at Detroit, made by the United States 
Commissioners in 1806, we find among their entries 
the following: 

"QuEBECK, Sept. 9th, 1785. 

Whereas, Matthew Elliot has for some time occu- 
pied a certain lot, lying near the dock yard at Detroit, 
by the water-side, this is to signify to all whom it 
may concern, that if any person has pretensions to 
the aforesaid lot, they are to produce the titles; oth^ 
erwise, the said Matthew Elliot is to hold peaceable 
possession thereof, until further orders. 

Given under my hand, and seal at arms, at the 
Castle of St. Louis. 

HENRY HAMILTON, 

(American State papers, vol. 1 p. 256.) 

Now, this authority of Gov. Hamilton to Matr 
thew Elliot, (given under his ^^ seal-at-armsj at the 
Castle of St. Louis,'') to hold possession of American 
soil, "until further orders," is decidedly rich, and 
perfectly characteristic of Henry Hamilton, the 



.. fj 



1 

It 



.1 



74 



APPENDIX. 



'* Hair-Buyer General' ' . For it will be remembered 
by all readers of history, that two years before the 
date of that grant his master, the King of Great 
Britain, relinquished by the treaty of peace in 1783, 
"all claims to the government, property, and terri- 
torial rights of the United States to the people there- 
of y^^ and in this grant was conceded all the "terri- 
torial rights of Great Britain to Detroit as well as 
the whole of Michigan." There is no doubt that 
in his hatred of every thing American, he died 
gam; but when or where, we are ignorant. The 
tacts above stated are derived from Rayner's Life of 
Mr. -Jeiferson — a work extremely rare, but the best 
life of Jefferson extant. 



III. 

TECUMSEH. 

We should fail in our duty as historian of the "Old 
Post," if we omitted to notice an individual who 
has played an important part in the history of the 
North- Western Territory, especially in the cam- 
paign of 181 2-' 13, on our North- Western frontiers. 
The reader will at once understand that the indi- 
vidual alluded to, is the one whose name heads this 
article. For all those qualities which elevate man 
far above his race; for talent, tact, skill, bravery as 
a warrior ; for high-minded, honorable and chival- 
rous bearing as a man; in fine, for all those ole- 



\ 



APPENDIX. 



76 



ments of greatness which place him a long way 
above his fellows in savage life, the name and fame 
of Tecumseh will go down to posterity in the West, 
as one of the most celebrated of the Aborigines of 
this continent. As one who on this side of the Al- 
leghanies at least, had no equal among the tribes 
who dwelt in the country watered by the Mississippi 
and its confluents. Such was the opinion of those 
who knew him when he died, and such is now, I 
believe, the opinion of the majority of the four or 
five million of inhabitants who people the region 
occupied by the tribes, which once acknowledged 
his supremacy. 

The tribe to which he belonged was the Shaw- 
N(E. The tradition of the nation held, that they 
originally came from the Gulf of Mexico; that they 
wended their way up the Mississippi and the Ohio, 
and settled at or near the present site of Shawnee' 
tmvn^ from whence they removed to the Upper 
Wabash. Be this as it may, they were found on 
the Wabash early in the eighteenth century, when 
the French took possession of the country, and 
were known and esteemed as the ^^ bravest of the 
brave.^^ This triba has uniformly been the bitter 
enemies of the white man, and in every contest 
with our people have shown a skill and strategy 
that made them a most dangerous foe. In everj 
battle-lield in the !N orth- Western Territory, pre- 
vious to and during the war of eighteen hundred 
and twelve, the Shawnoes wjere found in the ranks 
of our enemies. From the attack on Fort Harri- 
son, then garrisoned with the troops under the com- 



w 



76 



APPENDIX. 






Ifp^ 






m. 



mand of Captain Taylor, subsequently the hero of 
"Palo Alto andRessaca de laPalma," and President 
of the United States, down to the battle of Tippe- 
canoe in 1811, where General Harrison commanded 
the American forces; at Fort Meigs; at the River 
Raisin; in line, in every engagement where the 
American and British troops, met in hostile array 
the war-whoop of the Shawnoe was heard above 
the din of the battle-field, and his unerring rifle 
carried the message of death to many of the bra- 
vest of our countrymen. Of the early history of 
this warrior, of course, but little can be known. 
Related as he was to the "Prophet," the head chief 
of the Shaw noes, and possessing the skill and brav- 
ery which all acknowledge, his tact and talent, 
added to his position in the tribe, must have early 
given him power and influence with them, such as 
no other chieftain ever possessed over the children 
of the forest. At what period of his life he made 
his first appearance at Vincennes, is also unknown. 
Most probably from boyhood he had been accus- 
tomed to visit it, inasmuch as the tribes dwelling 
on the Wabash were in the constant habit of going 
there, either for the sale of their property, or the 
more important purpose of holding a Council. Vin- 
cennes in the early part of the present century, 
being the place where treaties were made and 
Councils held, with all the nations of Indians dwell- 
ing between the Lakes and the Ohio. A brother of 
the ^^ Prophet," who had an immense influence, spir- 
itual and temporal, with the Indians not only of his 
own tribe, the Shawnoes, but with the other tribes 



(1 



TECUMSEH. 



77 



residing on the waters of the Upper Wabash. Who, 
like the founder of Mormonism, not only held direct 
(jommimication with the "Great Spirit," but whose 
oracles, like those of the Sybils, were held by the 
untutored son of the forest as worthy of all cre- 
flence, he must from this circumstance alone, have 
held a high position in his tribe. It is, however, 
doubtful whether Tecumseh himself was gulled by 
the charlatanry of his brother. His own natural 
good sense must have taught him, however, that 
whatever his own private opinion might have been 
on this subject, policy would seem to require that 
lie should not divulge it. Well instructed in Indian 
character, he knew full well tYifit fanaticism was one 
of the strongest impulses to reckless bravery and 
daring. For if the follower of Mahomet, wound- 
ed and dying on the battle-field, in defence of his 
country and his faith, believed he went to the full 
enjoyment of "Houries and Sherbert" in the seventh 
lieaven of the Mahomedan creed, the no less in- 
fatuated Shawnee would seek danger and death in 
liis contest with the "pale face," with the firm belief 
that his departure from this world would usher him 
at once into the hunting grounds of the next. Born 
to command himself, he used all appliances that 
would stimukte the courage and nerve the valor of 
his followers. Always in the front rank of battle 
himself with his enemies, the whites, his followers 
blindly folhtwed his lead, and as his war-cry rang 
rkar above the din and noise of the battle-field, the 
Sha mjd ii*rriors as they rushed on to victory, or 
the ^ave. rallied ii round him — "foemen worthy of 



TT 



78 



APPENDIX. 




the steel" of the most gallant soldier that ever en- 
tered the lists in defence of his altar or his home. 

The "Battle of the Thames," in which he fell 
fighting single-handed^ with the gallant leader of one 
of the most distinguished corps of that bloody field, 
and to whose pistol shot, if all history of that hard- 
fought fight and glorious victory is to be credited, 
he owed his death, and ended his career, bears wit- 
ness to his skill and courage. It is not, however, 
with his acts for good or evil elsewhere, that I pro- 
pose to speak of him. It is only of the incidents 
connected with his life while residing in the /rt(Z/«wa 
Territory^ and possessing even then a control and in- 
fluence over his own tribe, and the tribes that sur- 
rounded it, which no Prophet, Warrior or Priest 
ever held on this continent, over the aborigines of 
the country, from the time of Phillip of Karragan- 
sett, down to that of the most distinguished of the 
Indian Chieftains of our time, that I propose to 
speak. 

It is well known to those who have paid the 
slightest attention to our colonial history in the 
early part of the present century, that it was the 
ardent wish, the deep-seated thought and burning 
desire of Tecumseh, to sever the tribes whom he 
could influence, (who then held possession of all 
the country from the old boundary line, about twen- 
ty miles above Vincennes, to Lake Michigan,) from 
any connexion with the whites — then commencing 
the first settlement of the country, and but few in 
number. His object was, and openly and boldly 
avowed, to form a confederacy of the Indian tribes, 



TECUMSEH. 



79 



not only north, but south; not only of the Shaw- 
noes, the Miamies and the Pottawatomies of the 
Wabash and the Illinois; but the Creeks, Chero- 
kees and Chickasaws of the Mississippi. To make 
an alliance with every tribe from Lake Erie to the 
Gulf of Mexico; a league offensive and defensive as 
against the whites, and to expel from the country- 
all who dwelt on the north-west side of the river 
Ohio, or who were residents on the south-side of the 
same river below the mouth of the Cumberland. 
The principle with which he started out, was one 
which would have great weight with the native 
tribes of th3 country, and one which, whatever we 
may say to the contrary, carried with it a gi'eat 
semblance of right and justice, so far, at least, as 
Indians were concerned. The principle was this: 
that the "Great Spirit" had created the distinction 
between the "palefaces" and the "aborigines" of 
the country, with a view of keeping them apart as 
two distinct races. To the Indians he had given 
the Great West. Here he had established their 
hunting grounds: the mountain and the valley — 
the hill and the prairie — ^the forest and the rivers 
were theirs. He had furnished the forest and the 
prairie with the Buffalo, the Deer and the Elk for 
their sustenance; their skins for their robes; their 
flesh for their food; the waters of the rivers and 
lakes he had abundantly stocked with fish. The 
Indians never were, and never would be fitted for 
agriculture. They were warriors and hunters. 
When game was scarce they hunted one another. 
That from tlie day of Nimrod to the present, such 



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TECUHSEH. 

liad been the destiny of the "red man." The con- 
sequence must be that there could be no fraterniza- 
tion, no affiliation with the white man. That when 
lie came here he was an interloper, a trespasser on 
their rights, an intruder on their soil, and must be 
expelled. That, as the necessary resul t of all this, 
they must drive him off fi'om their hunting grounds, 
which he had seized unlawfully and unjustly, and 
was cultivating for himself and those who were to 
come after him. That it was a death-struggle be- 
tween the white man and the red, and that now while 
the whites were sparse in population, weak in num- 
bers, and wanting in strength, was the time to strike 
the blow, and if possible, exterminate the race, who 
already were encroaching upon the Indian territory, 
where if a foot-hold was ever obtained, it would 
be difficult to remove them. How far the views of 
Tecumseh were right, let the history of the West 
for the last half century answer. Their progress, 
like that of the buifalo, has been westward. The 
waters of the Pacific will alone stay their march, 
and the last war-whoop of the Indian on this conti- 
nent, as he makes his final struggle with his impla- 
cable foe, the white man, will mingle with the roar 
of the ocean, as it rolls its breakers upon the rocks 
and head-lands, which form the last barrier to the 
further progress of either race towards the setting 
sun. A fitting requiem for the last of a people who 
once lorded it, fi'om the St. Lawrence to the Colum- 
bia, from Lake Superior to the Gulf of Mexico. 

Another principle which he advocated, and which 
at least has some plausibility, was thii 



((. 



TW 



TECUMSEH. 



81 



Great Spirit had given the Indians all their lands in 
common, to be held by them as such, and not by the 
various tribes who had settled on portions of it- 
claiming it as their own. That they were mere squat- 
ters, having no ^^pre-emption riylit^^ but holding even 
that, on which they lived as mere "tenants in com- 
mon" with all the other tribes. That this mere 
possession gave them no title to convey the land 
without the consent of all. That no single tribe had 
the right to sell, that the power to sell was not invest- 
ed in their Chjef\ but must be the act of the War* 
riors, in council assembled of all the tribes, as the 
land belonged to all — no portion of it to any single 
tribe. Hence, in all the councils which he held with 
the whites, he uniformly refused, as did his tribe, 
until after his death, to acknowledge the validity of 
any treaty made between the Indians and the Gov- 
ernment, utterly denying the power of one or more 
tribes of Indians to convey the land they occupied 
without the consent of all. 

In the Spring of 1810, General Harrison being 
Governor of the north-western Territory, and resid- 
ing at Vinccnnes — the seat of Government — had 
learned from various quarters that Tecumseh had 
been visiting the different Indian tribes, scattered 
along the Valleys of the Wabash and Illinois, with 
a view of forming an alliance and making common 
cause against the whites, and that there was great 
probability that his mission had been successful. 
Aware, as he was, that if this was the case, and that 
if the combination had been formed, such as was rep- 
resented, the settlements in the southern portion of 



82 



APPENDIX. 






Indiana and Illinois were in great danger; that 
Vincennes itself would be the first object of attack, 
and that, with the handfull of troops in the Terri- 
tory, a successful resistance might not be made; and 
not probably fully aware of the extent of the or- 
ganization attempted by Tecumseh, and desirous of 
avoiding, if he could, the necessity of a call to arms, 
he sent a message to him, then residing at the "Pro- 
phet*s Town," inviting him to a council to be held 
at Vincennes at as early a period as possible, for the 
purpose of talking over and amicably settling all 
difficulties which might exist between the whites and 
the Shawnoes. It was not until the month of Au- 
gust, of the same year, that Tecumseh, accompanied 
by about seventy of his warriors, made his appear- 
ance. They encamped on the banks of the Wabash 
just above the town, and Tecumseh gave notice to 
the General that, in pursuance of his invitation, he 
had come to hold a talk " with him and his braves." 
The succeeding day was appointed for the meetings 
The Governor made all suitable preparations for it. 
The officers of the territory and the leading citizens 
of the town were invited to be present, while a portion 
of a CO mpany of militia was detailed as guard — ^fully 
armed and equipped for any emergency. Notice had 
been sent to Tecumseh previous to the meeting, that 
it was expected that himself and only a portion of 
his principal warriors, would bo present at the coun- 
cil. The council was held in the open lawn before 
the Governor's house, in a grove of trees which then 
surrounded it. But two of these, I regret to say, are 
now remaining. At the time appointed, Tecumseh 



TECUMSEH. 



as 



and some fifteen or twenty of his warriors made 
their appearance. With a firm and elastic step, and 
with a proud and somewhat defiant look, he advanc- 
ed to the place where the Governor and those who 
had been invited to attend the conference were sit. 
ting. This place had been fenced in, with a view of 
preventing the crowd from encroaching upon the 
council during its deliberations. As 1 stopped for. 
ward he seemed to scan the preparationo which had 
been made for his reception, particularly the military 
part of it, with an eye of suspicion— by no means, 
however, with fear As he came in front of the 
dais, an elevated ] ion of the place upon which 
the r )vernor and ^ u )fficers of the Territory were 
seateu tho Govonn^riuvited him, through his inter- 
preter, to come forward and take a scat with him 
and his counsellor [)remising the invitation by say- 
ing: "That it was thr' wish of their 'Gueat Fath- 
er,' the President of the United States, that he 
should do so." The Chief paused ** )r a moment, 
as the words were uttered and the sentence finish- 
ed, and raising his tall form to its greatest height, 
surveyed the troops and the crowd around him. 
Then with his keen eyes fixed upon the Gover- 
nor for a single moment, and turning them to 
the sky above, with his sinewy arm pointing towards 
the heaven, and with a tone and manner indicative 
of supreme contempt, for ihQ paternity assigned himy 
said in a voice whose clarion tones were heard 
throughout the whole assembly: 

^''My Fatkeri'-^The sun is my father— -the earth is 
my mother — and on her bosom I will recline." 



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Having finished, he stretchd himself with his war- 
riors on the green sward. The effect, it is said, was 
electrical, and for some moments there was a per- 
fect silence. 

The Governor, throu^^h the interpreter, then in- 
formed him, "that he had understood he had com- 
plaints to make, and redress to ask for certain 
wrongs which he^ Tecuniseh, supposed had been 
done his tribe, as well as the others ; that he felt 
disposed to listen to the one, and make satisfaction 
for the other, if it was proper he should do so. 
That in all his intercourse and negotiations with the 
Indians, he had endeavored to act justly and hon- 
orably with them, and believed he had done so, and 
had heard of no complaint of his conduct until he 
learned that Tecumseh was endeavoring to create dis- 
satisfaction towards the Government, not only 
among the Shawnoes, but among the other tribes 
dwelling on the Wabash and Illinois; and had, in 
so doing, produced a great deal of mischief and 
trouble between them and the whites, by averring 
that the tribes, whose land the Government had 
lately purchased, had no right to sell, nor their 
chiefs any authority to convey. That he, the Gov- 
ernor, had invited him to attend the Council, with a 
view of learning from his own lips, whether there was 
any truth in the reports which he had heard, and to 
learn from himself whether he, or his tribe, had 
any cause of complaint against the whites; and if so, 
as a man and a warrior, openly and boldly to avow it. 
That as between himself and as great a warrior as Te- 
cumseh, ^here should be no concealments-all should 






TECUMSEH. 



85 



be done by them under a clear sky^ and in an open, path, 
and with these feelings on his own part, he was glad 
to meet him in council." Tecumseh arose as soon 
as the Governor had finished. Those who knew him 
speak of him as one of the most splendid specimens 
of his tribe— celebrated for their physical propor- 
tions and fine forms, even among the nations who 
surrounded them. Tall, athletic and manly, dig- 
nified, but graceful, he seemed the beau ideal of an 
Indian Chieftain. In a voice, at first low, but with 
all its indistinctness, musical, he commenced his 
reply. As he warmed with his subject his clear 
tones might be heard, as if "trumpet-tongued," to 
the utmost limits of the assembled crowd who gath- 
ered around him. The most perfect silence prevail- 
ed, except when the warriors who surrounded him, 
gave their gutferal assent to some eloquent recital of 
the red man's wrong, and the white man's injustice. 
Well instructed in the traditions of his tribe, fully 
acquainted with their history, the councils, trea- 
ties, and battles of the two races for half a cen- 
tury, he recapitulated the wrongs of the "red man" 
from the massacre of the "Moravian Indians," dur- 
ing the revolutionary war, down to the period he 
had met the Governor in Council. He told him "he 
did not know how he could ever again be the friend 
of the white man." In reference to the public do- 
main, he asserted "that the 'Great Spirit* had 
given all the country from the Miami to the Missis- 
sippi, from the Lakes to the Ohio, as a common pro- 
petty to all the tribes that dwelt within those bor- 
ders, and that the land could not^ and shmld not be 



1- 

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86 



APPENDIX. 




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sold without the consent of all. That all the tribes 
on the continent formed but one nation. That if the 
United States would not give up the lands they had 
bought of the Miamis, the Delawares, the Pottowat- 
omies, and other tribes, that those united with him 
were determined to fall on those tribes and annihi- 
late them. That they were determined to have no 
more Chiefs, but in future to be governed by their 
warriors. That unless a stop was put to the further 
encroachment of the whites, the fate of the Indians 
was sealed. They had been driven from the banks 
of the Delaware across the Alleghanies, and their 
possessions on the Wabash and the Illinois were 
now to be taken from them — that in a few years 
they would not have ground enough to bury their 
warriors on this side of the "Father of Waters." 
That all would perish — all their possessions taken 
from them by fraud, or force, unless they stopped 
the progress of the white man further westward. 
That it must tea war of races in whi(h ere cr the 
other must perish. That their tribes had been driv- 
en towards the setting sun, like a galloping horse, 
("Ne-kat-a-cush-e Ka-top-o-lin-tc") That for 
himself and his warriors, he had determined to re- 
sist all further aggressions of the whites, and that 
with his consent, or that of the Shaw noes, they 
should never acquire another foot of land." To 
those who have never heard the Shawnee language, 
I may here remark, it is the most musical and eu- 
phonious of all the Indian languages of the West. 
When spoken rapidly by a fluent speaker, it sounds 
more like the scanning of Greek and Latin verse, 



m 



I 



TECUMSBH. 



87 



than any thing else I can compare it to. The effect 
of this address, of which I have simply given the 
outlines, and which occupied an hour in the deliv- 
ery, may be readily imagined. 

William Henry Harrison was as brave a man as 
ever lived. All who knew him will acknowledge 
his courage, moral and physical, but he was wholly 
unprepared for such a speech as this. There was a 
coolness, an independence, a defiance in the whole 
manner and matter of the Chieftain's speech which 
astonished even him. He knew Tecumseh well. 
He had learned to appreciate his high qualities as 
a man and a warrior. He knew his power, his skill? 
his energy, his bravery. He knew his influence* 
not only over his own tribe, but over those which 
dwelt on the waters of the Wabash and the Illinois. 
He knew he was no braggart — ^that what he said he 
meant — what he promised he intended to perform. 
He was fully aware that he was a foe not to be treat- 
ed lightly — ^an enemy to be conciliated, not scorned 
— one to be met with kindness, not contempt. 
There was a stillness throughout the assembly when 
Tecumseh had done speaking, which was painful. 
Kot a whisper was to be heard — all eyes were turned 
from the speaker to the Governor. The unwarrant- 
ed and unwarrantable pretensions of the Chief, and 
the bold and defiant tone in which he had announc- 
ed them, staggered even him. It was some mo- 
ments before he arose. Addressing Tecumseh, who 
had taken his seat with his warriors, he said : " That 
the charges of bad faith made against our Govern- 
ment, and the assertion that injustice had been done 



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88 



APPENDIX. 



the Indians in any treaty ever made, or any council 
ever held with them by the United States, had no 
tbundation in fact. That in all their dealings with 
the red men, they had ever been governed by the 
strictest rules of right and justice. That while 
other civilized nations had treated them with con- 
tumely and contempt, ours had always acted in good 
faith with them. That so far as he individually was 
concerned, he could say in the presence of the "Great 
Spirit " who was watching over their deliberations, 
that his conduct, even with the most insignificant 
tribe, had been marked with kindness, and all his 
acts governed by honor, integrity and fair dealing. 
That he had uniformly been the friend of the red 
man, and that it was the first time in his life that 
his motives had been questioned, or his actions im- 
peached. It was the first time in his life that he had 
ever heard such unfounded claims put forth, as Te- 
cumseh had set up, by any Chief, or any Indian, 
having the least regard for truth, or the slightest 
knowledge of the intercourse between the Indian 
and the white man, from the time this continent was 
first discovered." What the Governor had said 
thus far had been interpreted by Barron, the inter- 
preter, to the Shawnoes ; and he was about interpre- 
ting it to the Miamis and Pottowatomies, who form- 
ed part of the cavalcade, when Tecumseh with his 
warriors sprang to their feet, brandishing their war- 
clubs and tomahawks. " Tell him," said Tecumseh, 
addressing the interpreter in Shawnee, "he lies!" 
Barron who had, as all subordinates (especially in 
the Indian Department have,) a great reverence and 



TECUMSEH. 



89 



respect for the "powers that be," had commenced 
interpreting the language of Teciimseh to the Gov- 
ernor, but not exactly in the terms made use of, 
when Tecumseh who, although understanding but 
little English, perceived from his embarrassment 
and awkwardness, that he was not giving his words, 
interrupted him and again addressed him in Shaw- 
nee, said: "No, no; tell him he lies." The gut- 
teral assent of his party showed they coincided with 
their Chief's opinion. General Gibson, Secretary 
of the Territory, who understood Shawnee, had 
not been an inattentive spectator of the scene, and 
understanding the import of the language made use 
of, and from the excited state of Tecumseh and his 
party, was apprehensive of violence, made a signal 
to the troops in attendance to shoulder their arms, 
and advance. They did so. The speech of Tecum- 
seh was literally interpreted to the Governor. He 
directed Barron to sav to him, "^e 7vould hold no 
farther council with him" and the meeting broke up. 
One can hardly imagine a more exciting scene — 
one which would be a finer subject for an " Historical 
Painting" to adorn the rotunda of the Capitol, 
around which not a single picture, commemorative 
of Western history is to be found. On the succeed- 
ing day, Tecumseh requested another interview with 
the Governor, which was granted, on condition, that 
he should make an apology to the Governor for his 
language the day before. This he made through 
the interpreter. Measures for defence and protec- 
tion were however taken, lest there should be 
another outbreak. Two companies of militia were 



90 



APPKNDIX. 



'i 



h 






ordered from the country, and the one in town added 
to them, while the Governor and his friends went 
into council fully armed and prepared for any con- 
tingency. The conduct of Tecumseh upon this occa- 
sion was entirely diiferent from that of the day be- 
fore. Firm and intrepid, showing not the slightest 
fear or alarm, surrounded as he was with a mili- 
tary force, quadrupeling his own, he preserved the 
utmost composure and equanimity. No one could 
have discerned from his looks, although he must 
have fully understood the object of calling in the 
troops, that he was in the slighest degree discon- 
certed. He was cautious in his bearing, dignified in 
his manner, and no one from observing him would 
for a moment have supposed he was the principal 
actor in the thrilling scene of the previous day. 

In the interval between the sessions of the first 
and second council, Tecumseh had told Barron, the 
interpreter, "that he had been informed by the 
whites^ that the people of the territory were almost 
equally divided, half in favor of Tecumseh and the 
other adhering to the Governor." The same state- 
ment he made in council. He said "that two Amer- 
icans had made him a visit, one in the course of the 
preceding winter, the other lately, and informed 
him that Governor ilarrison had purchased land 
from the Indians without any authority from the 
Government, and that one-half ot the people of the 
territory were opposed to the purchase. He also 
told the Governor, that he Harrison, had but two 
years more to remain in office, and that if he^ Te- 
cumseh could prevail upon the Indians who sold 



m 



TECUMSEH. 



n 



the lands, not to receive their annuities for that time, 
that when the Governor was displaced, as he would 
bey and a good man appointed as his successor, he 
would restore to the Indians all the lands purchas- 
ed from them." After Tecumseh had concluded 
his speech, a Wyandot, a Kickapoo, a Pattawato- 
mie, an Ottowa, and a Winnebago Chief, severally 
spoke, and declared that their tribes had entered 
into the "Shawn(e Confederacy," and would sui> 
port the principles laid down by Tecumseh, whom 
they had appointed their leader. 

At the conclusion of the council, the Governor 
informed Tecumseh "that he would immediately 
transmit his speech to the President, and as soon as 
his answer was received, would send it to him ; but 
as a person had been appointed to run the boundary 
line of the new purchase, he wished to know wheth- 
er there would be any danger in his proceeding to 
run the line." Tecumseh replied "that he and his 
allies were determined that the old boundary line 
should continue, and that if the whites crossed it, it 
would be at their peril." The Governor replied, 
"that since Tecumseh had been thus candid in stat- 
ing his determination, he would be equally so with 
him. The President, he was convinced, would 
never allow that the lands on the Wabash, were the 
property of any other tribes than those who had oc- 
cupied them, and lived on them since the white peo- 
ple tirst came to America. And as the title to the 
lands lately purchased, was derived from those 
tribes by fair purchase, he might rest assured tliat 
the right of the United States would be supported 
by the sword" 



^iir 



92 



APPENDIX. 



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" So BE IT," was the stern and haughty reply of 
the "Shawnee Chieftain," as he and his braves took 
leave of the Governor and wended their way in In- 
dian file to their camping ground. And thus ended 
the last conference on earth between the chivalrous 
and gallant Tecumseh, the Shawnee Chief, and he 
who, since the period alluded to, has ruled the des- 
tinies of the nation as its Chief Magistrate. The 
bones of the first lie bleaching on the battle-field of 
the Thames — those of the last are deposited in the 
mausoleum that covers them, on the banks of the 
Ohio. Each struggled for the mastery of their 
race. Each, no doubt, equally honest and patriotic 
in their purposes. The weak yielded to the strong 
— the defenceless to the powerful, and the hunting- 
ground of the Shawnee, not only on the Wabash, 
but the Kansas, (where the small remnant of their 
tribe has been expatriated.) is giving place to the 
field of the husbandman — their tomahawks convert- 
ed into plough-shares, and in a few years more the 
race will be extinct. Such is the inevitable destiny 
of the red man on this continent. Tribe after 
tribe, nation after nation, are passing away. So 
that in a few years their very name and existence 
will be unknown. And while the pseitdo philan- 
thropist busies himself with the wrongs, real or sup- 
posed, of the negro, he has not a tear to shed over 
the utter and entire destruction of a race, to whose 
kindness and hospitality to his ancestors, he owes 
his very existence as an American citizen. Will- 
iam Penn says "no Quaker blood ever soiled the 
tomahawk of an Indian." How much better for 



TECUMSEH. 



93 



the Indian and the white-man, would it have been 
if the whole Anglo-Saxon race had been Quakers^ 
Truly, as a nation, we shall have a sad reckoning in 
the court of Heaven for the injustice done to the 
red man — ^whatever it may be for our conduct to- 
wards the black one. 

As soon as the council had ended, Tecumseh em- 
barked in his birch canoe, with four of his braves, 
for the mission he had long contemplated, to the 
tribes of the south and south-west, with a view, if 
possible, to form a confederation and an alliance, of- 
fensive and defensive, between the north-western and 
south-western Indians, with a view of driving the 
whites out of the North- Western Territory, and 
preserving intact the whole region of country lying 
between the Lakes and the Ohio, the Miami and 
the Mississippi, from the settlements of their heredi- 
tary foes. 

It is very doubtful whether at this period, Gov- 
ernor Harrison was aware of the object of his visit. 
At any rate, whether he was or not, no efforts were 
made to detain him. Descending the Wabash, the 
Ohio and the Mississippi, he visited every tribe on 
the south-side of the two last rivers. The Choc- 
taws, Cherokees, Chickasaws, and extended his visit 
to the Creeks, then occupying the country embraced 
in the present States of Mississippi and Alabama, 
and around the Gulf of Mexico. With all these 
tribes he held councils, and in fervent and eloquent 
terms, described the white-man's wrong and the 
red man's injuries. Enforcing, as far as he could 
among the respective tribes he visited, the more 







TIT- 



94 



APPENDIX. 



modern, national sentiment that in "union alone 
was their strength." His motto, like that of our 
fathers' during the revolutionary struggle, as evi- 
denced in the Colonial papers of that day, which 
have been preserved to the present time, was a dis- 
jointed snake with the words, "Join or Die." His ar- 
gument, that the tribes of this continent, although 
speaking different languages, werehui one people, cre- 
ated by the Great Spirit, with different habits, feel- 
ings, opinions, social and religious, from the whites, 
who were their hereditary enemies, and who, in the 
first settlement of the country, having been treated 
with kindness and hospitality by the Aborigines, had 
repaid these acts of friendship by the destruction of 
every tribe among which they had been located east 
of the AUeghanios. That in the north-west, under 
the pretence of purchasing from various tribes, who 
had no right to dispose of the national territory of the 
Indians, which was the common property of all the 
tribes on the continent, they were dispossessing them 
of their property by fraud and force, and would soon 
drive them from their hunting grounds, beyond the 
"Father of Waters," and ultimately into the Pa- 
cific. That the system of robbery cmmittedon 
their brethren on the north-side of the Ohio would 
be extended south of that river, and that the tribes 
who dwelt there, the Choctaws, Cherokees, Chick- 
asaws and Creeks, would be driven from their pos- 
sessions, and that but a few years would roll round 
until they would not have a foot of ground to hunt 
on or cultivate, from the mouth of the Cumberland to 
the Belize. The history of the last half century will 



TECUMSEH. 



95 



answer how far these predictions have been verified 
in the action of the white man towards the red one, 
whenever the selfishness or greed of the one was 
to be satisfied by tlie spoil of the other. 

Before Tecumseh left the Prophet's town at the 
mouth of the Tippecanoe river, on his excursion to 
the south and south-west, he had in different inter- 
views with his brothers enforced upon him the ab- 
solute necessity of preserving peace with the whites, 
until his arrangements were completed for a con- 
federacy of the tribes dwelling on both sides of the 
Ohio river, and with those dwelling on the Missis- 
sippi. He had in various conversations laid before 
him the propriety and benefits to be gained from 
such an alliance, and the immense power and influ- 
ence to be derived from such a confederation in any 
future contest with the whites. That no blow 
should be struck against the settlements in Indiana 
and Illinois, until the means were provided by the 
Indian "wwp (Cetaty^^ to ensure their extermina- 
tion, or at least, to force them out of the coun^'^y 
they occupied, and drive them beyond the Ohio. 
The Prophet promised that in his absence no 
warlike measure should be undertaken, and that 
while strengthening his forces and enlisting the oth- 
er tribes on the Wabash into his service in the com- 
mon cause, he would preserve amicable relations 
with the whites, and by deception and chicanery, 
those potent weapons of Indian warfare, lull any 
suspicions that Governor Harrison might have in 
reference to the peaceable intentions of the tribes 
over whom the Prophet had so great an influence. 






;■.! 



86 



APPENDIX. 






f}9 



f : 






That no act should be done in the absence of Te- 
cumseh, calculated to disturb the friendly relations 
between the tribes residing on the Wabash and the 
Government of the United States. No act done — 
no expedition undertaken, until Tecumseh carried 
out his plan by a union of the tribes north and 
south, for the common purpose of avenging their 
wrongs and expelling their enemies, the whites, 
from that portion of the territory in which they had 
commenced the work of settlement and civilization. 
Believing that the Prophet would fully carry out 
his views uncier the pledges made him, Tecumseh 
felt no disposition to return until his plans were 
fully matured, and the co-operation of the southern 
tribes in this work of the expatriation of the white 
race from the valleys of the Wabash and Illinois 
secured. It will be recollected that he left Vin- 
cennes after his interview with Harrison, in the 
month of August, eighteen hundred and eleven. 
In the meantime, the latter through the traders Lnd 
others, who were acting as his spies in the Indian 
country had been apprised, that movements were 
making among the northern tribes, that boded no 
good to the settlements in the southern portion of 
the territory. Frequent councils had been held by 
them, and frequent visits made by their chiefs to 
the Prophet's town, at the mouth of the Tippeca- 
noe. There could be no doubt that some plan was 
concocting, and none more likely than that a de- 
scent was to be made at an early pe7.iod upon Vin- 
cennes, and the settlements around it, with a view 
to their destruction, and the massacre of their in- 



TECUHSEH. 



97 



the 
even. 

Lnd 
idian 
were 
d no 
on of 
dby 

3fs to 

peca- 
was 
I de- 
Vin- 
view 
ir in- 



habitants. So strongly impressed was Governor 
Harrison with this belief, that he immediately made 
preparations to march with his troops, consisting of 
about eight hundred men, including the 4th United 
States regiment, under the command of the gallant 
Miller, to the Prophet's town to compel them 
to make a peace, which should be permanent^ 
or to chastize them. The battle of Tippecanoe, 
fought on the seventh day of November, eighteen 
hundred and eleven, and the important results flow- 
ing from it to the whole north-western territory, 
form some of the brightest pages of Western his- 
tory, and need not be recapitulated. Suffice it to 
say, that the defeat of the Prophet and his party 
frustrated the "coalition" — ^the results of which were 
looked to with such interest by Tecumseh — and de- 
stroyed the grand idea for which he so long and 
ably struggled, the confederacy of the Indians of 
the continent against their implacable foe, the white 
man. What the consequences of such an union 
might have been, it is fortunate for our race that we 
have no means of determining. He who holds in 
the hollow of his hand the destinies of men and of 
nations, for his own wise purposes gave us the vic- 
toi'y, as he had done to our fathers forty years be- 
fore, in the long and arduous struggle for our inde- 
pendence. ! • . 

Tecumseh was in the south, engaged in the miss- 
ioi* which took him there, when the battle of Tip- 
pecanoe was fought. His chagrin, disappointment, 
and anger, when he returned and learned what had 
been done ia his absence, are said to have been 

7 



'*rf: 



m 

■>', ■' 






98 



APPENDIX. 






¥ 



ovenvhel ruing. 



Ho accused his brother of dupli- 
city tand cowartlico, and it is said by those who 
know him, never forgave him to the day of his 
death. He remained but a short time with his 
tribe, and on the breaking out of the war with 
Grjat Britain, in eighteen hundred and twelve, 
joined Proctor at Maiden, with a party of his war- 
riors, and as in life, so in death, was found the bravo 
and noble, but implacable foe of the white race, 
when at the river liaisin, in a contest with his old 
enemies he found a warrior's rest and a warrior's 
grave — battling bravely with his foes, for what ho 
no doubt honestly believed were the rights of his 
people, against the aggression of those who had 
most cruelly and unjustly wronged them. Peace to 
his ashes. 

I cannot conclude this brief and unsatisfactory 
note, in reference to one of the most distinguishe<l 
Indian Chieftains that ever figured on this conti- 
nent, and one who played a most important part in 
the aflPairs of the north-western territory during its 
colonial period, without relating an incident in his 
history but little known, and which I had from ono 
of the parties connected with it: an incident so 
expressive of the noblo and chivalrous nature 
of this distinguished warrior, under circumstances 
which would have led others of his tribe and kin- 
dred to play a very different part, that I should 
be doing injustice to his character were I not 
to relate it. 

In the spring of eighteen hundred and eleven, and 
previous to the visit of Tecumseh to Yincennes, ii 






TECUMSEII. 



99 



bocamo a matter of deep interest to Governor Har- 
rison to ascertain the true feeling of the north-wes- 
tern tribes towards the whites, and especially that 
of the Shawnoes, governed by the Prophet, and who 
it was well understood were by no means friendly. 
In fact, the Governor had understood from persons 
he deemed perfectly reliable, that the Shawnoes, 
aided by their confederates, intended shortly to 
make a foray upon Vincennes, and the lower settle- 
ments of the Wabash. Anxious to ascertain the 
true state of the case, and if so, to make the neces- 
sary preparations to repel the attack, as he suppos- 
ed, contemplated. lie sent Captain W., afterwards 
Gen; W., with B., the Indian interpreter, and a flag 
of truce to the Prophet's town, with the ostensible 
purpose of inviting the Prophet, Tecumseh, and the 
other chiefs of the Sliawnoo tribe, to a conference 
with him at Vincennes. Capt. W, readily under- 
took the mission. No braver or better man ever 
lived, and no man better qualified to undertake so 
important and dangerous a mission. Dangerous, be- 
cause if the enterprise contemplated, was to be un- 
dertaken by the Indians, no great time would 
elapse before it was executed. And in accordance 
with all rules of action among the Aborigines, the 
blow would be struck speedily and secretly. The 
detention of the messenger at the Prophet's town 
until the scheme was executed, was almost certaiD| 
and in such a case, death inevitable. It v/as 
also a matter of great importance to the Shawnoes, 
whose language he spoke fluently, to get hold of B. 
the interpreter, for whom they had no affection, and 



I k- • 



f ?l 



I \' 



X 
T 




.l ^V 




100 



APPENDIX. 



without whose aid and assistance, it was thought 
the Governor would be greatly embarrassed. 

Reflections of this kind carried no terror to the 
gallant W. His superior had given him the orders, 
and at all hazards, personal or otherwise, he deem- 
ed it his duty to carry it out. With the interpre- 
ter, and carrying a flag of truce, he took his depar- 
ture from the "Post," and on the afternoon of the 
fifth day arrived at the Prophet's town. Their re- 
ception was of the most friendly character — ^the hos- 
pitality of the Prophet most unexceptionable. A 
cabin was prepared for them; bear-skins for their 
resting place, put in requisition, and every luxury 
in the way of game provided for their table. A pro- 
position for a council on the ensuing day had been 
made to the Prophet, and cheerfully assented to. 
Every thing bore the appearance of a friendly ter- 
mination of their interview, and the Captain was 
much rejoiced to find matters working so favorably 
in regard to the object of their mission. The mind 
of B., the interpreter, was not so much at ease. Ho 
was not deceived by these apparently favorable 
symptoms. He knew the Indian character well; 
had lived among them many years; spoke fluently 
the language of every tribe which dwelt on the 
Upper Wabash. Understood their customs, habits, 
manners and charlatanry well, and although but im- 
perfectly educated, was one of the most remarkable 
men I ever knew. It is well known to those who 
were acquainted with the form of government 
among the Shawnoes at the time I refer to, that the 
wife of the Prophet, under the royal*designation of 



TECUMSEH. 



101 



"Queen," enjoyed an influence and power "behind 
the throne greater than the throne itself." And 
that while her husband, the Prophet, had an illim- 
itable influence over the male portion of the tribe, 
not only by virtue of his office, but by means of his 
visions and direct communications with the "Great 
Spirit," whose revelations, through this medium^ 
were as much believed in, and held canonical, by 
these untutorad sons of the forest, as those of Joe 
Smith orBrigham Young areby the most devout Mor- 
mon of the Utah territory, she possessed an influ- 
ence over the female portion of the tribe not less 
potent than her husband's — an influence felt, and 
often disastrously felt in the councils of the nation 
— particularlv where the subjects of wrong and in- 
jury to the white race were matters of deliberation. 
Towards sunset of the day of the arrival of Capt 
W. and B., the interpreter, at the Prophet's town, 
a gathering of the squaws was noticed by the vigi- 
lant and wary interpreter, whose suspicions were 
avrakened a^ he saw them winding their way from 
all parts of the town to a common centre, and as 
they passed the hut in which W. and himself had 
their quarters, they eyed it and them, with evident 
marks of attention and distrust, and pointed their 
fingers at B., who stood in the door-way, noticing 
their movements. B., aware that something was 
going on among the "softer sex" of Prophet's town, 
in which he &nd the Captain were personally inter- 
ested, expressed his fears to his companion, and 
suggested that their detention and death was the 
most probable result of the deliberations of this 



y 



if-m 



102 



APPENDIX. 






M. II' ■ 

■** ; 







female congress, knowing as he did, tlie influence 
which the "Queen" exercised over the Prophet, 
and through him over the tribe. Much to his as. 
tonishment, the gallant Captain treated the matter 
with perfect indifference, as he stretched himself on 
his bear skin, with a view to a good night's refresh- 
ment, after the fatigue of five days' hard riding.. 
The interpreter, however, felt but little disposition 
to sleep, while his companion gave evident signs of 
having forgotten all his troubles, if any he had. 
Matters remained in this situation until near mid- 
night — ^^V. fast asleep and B. awake to every pass- 
ing sound. The night was exceedingly dark, and a 
heavy mist had overspread the low ground in which 
the village was situated, when a knock was made 
at the door of the cabin, and a low voice wiis heard 
calling the interpreter by name, in the Shawnee lan- 
guage, with the request to make no noise, but open 
the door and let him in. To this demand an answer 
was given by B., enquiring in the same language 
who it was. To this the reply was made in the same 
still, low voice, "Tecumseh." The Captain was 
awakened by the interpreter and informed that Te- 
cumseh asked for admission. The reply was "to 
admit him." The door was opened and Tecumseh 
quietly and stilly entered. After making the door 
fast, and listening intently to ascertain whether 
there was any poise in the village, or any signs of 
watchfulness from the tribe, he told W. through the 
interpretation of B., that the squaws had held a 
council, presided over by the Queen, in which they 
had determined to apply to the Prophet to retain 




TECUMSEH. 



103 



the whites, and if necessary to take away their lives, 
and this determination having been made known to 
the Pro[)het, he had called a council of the tribe, in 
which the matter had been discussed, andtlie question 
settled to do so. That he, Tecumseh, with a portion 
of his warriors had strongly remonstrated, showing 
the impolicy and wickedness of the measure, in the 
strongest terms they could. That they had stated 
the fact, that these men had come there under the 
protection of a flag of truce, respected by all civil- 
ized or savage nations, ever since the introduction 
of it on the continent. That they came as bearers 
of a peaceful message from Governor Harrison, re- 
questing that the Proj)het and the other chiefs 
of the Shawnoes, would meet him in council at 
Vincennes. That whether they mot him or not, 
his messengers should return in peace, and no 
wrong should be done them. That they painted in 
as strong colors as they could, the gross injustice 
that would bo done theso mon in detaining thorn; 
the serious loss and injury to tho triba in so doing; 
that whatever might be their future determination 
in reference to the whites — whether peace or war — 
the result of such conduct must inevitably end in 
the latter — a war in which no quarter would bo 
given or taken, and in which, illy prepared as tho 
Shawnoes then were for such a contest, the inevita- 
ble result must be the capture of their town, and 
the destruction of their people. For under such 
circumstances, they could not justify their conduct 
to the other tribes in enmity with them, who with 
such a provocation, would take no part in the strug- 



104 



APPENDIX. 



u ' 



m 



'it 



gle, but leave the tribe to fight it out with the 
whites, as best they could without any aid from 
them. That in a good cause, where the honor or 
the rights of his people were concerned, he would 
shed his blood, like water, in their defence; but in 
a bad one, such as he could not justify himself, 
such as the Great Spirit himself could not approve, 
he could not fight ; and no good warrior could. 
That the Prophet and the whole tribe knew well his 
hostility to the whites, and that he felt no fear- 
dreaded no danger — .sought every peril he could en- 
counter, in every battle-field they met in, and would 
were it possible exterminate the race. But it must 
be in a fight that his heart approved and his judg- 
ment sanct ioned. That they knew but little of him, 
with all his hatred to the white race, if they believed 
he would get one of their people into his power by 
fraud and falsehood, and then detain them by stra- 
tagem, or murder them in cold blood, as they 
would do if they detained these men, and then mas- 
sacred them. That he was but a war-chief, com- 
manding warriors, and had but little influence in 
the councils of the tribe, when opposed by the 
Prophet. That it was the determination of the 
council, no doubt influenced by the solicitations of 
the squaws, to keep them prisoners; and as to their 
future fiite, it would depend upon circumstances- 
most probably they would be tomahawked or burnt 
at the stake. That the only mode of preventing: 
this was to make the^r escape— that he had provid- 
ed for this, if they were cautious and prudent.- 
They must observe the strictest silence, take the ■■ 



TBCUMSEH. 



105 



saddles and bridles and follow him. They did so. 
Cautiously and stealthily thoy made their way 
through the town. The darkness of the night, and 
a dense fog greatly aided them in so doing. Even 
the Indian dogs, so numerous and noisy at an In- 
dian village, were undisturbed. Tecumseh led the 
way. After passing through the village, they de- 
scended into the bottoms of the Wabash, and when 
almost half a mile from the town, a sound like the 
gobbling of a wild turkey was responded to by 
another of similar character, from the underwood 
of the forest. They repaired to the spot, where 
they found their horses in charge of two young 
men, belonging to Tecumseh 's party, mounted on 
their ponies. A few words in Shawnoe were whis- 
pered to them by their Chief. A brief adieu was 
bidden to the gallant and chivalrous warriors ; and 
having saddled their st-eeds, accompanied by thir 
guides, they made their way to the "Post" in 
safety. The Indians leaving them when in reach 
of the settlements, and returning to their tribe. 
Such was the narrative given to me many years 
since by one of the parties to the transaction, long 
since gathered to his fathers, and it affords a most 
beautiful and striking illustration of the noble char- 
acter of the distinguished Chieftain, the incidents 
of whose life, as connected with our border history, 
**few and far apart" I have faintly delineated. 



I.I- 



fi'' 



.i]n 



;hi-> 



m- 



'' f~ t 



iis';^ 




r.i \ [ 



>* 



if.'r 



iu 



{ ..i-. 



■/'■."'..'.• 



. IV. 



' I : ; . I ' 






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! •■• 



PUBLIC LANDS. 









TIIR niPPOPITION. 8KTTLRMBNT, AKD ALLOTMFNT OF TUB PCPLIC LAfMJll 
TIIK "0M> VTNCKNNKS LAND LIdTUlCT," U.NOKU TUX VIIKNCU, lUiOLISH 
AND A»IERICAN (iRANTS. 

The disposition, allotment and settlement of the 
public lands, within what is called the "Vinccnncs 
Land District," is so intimately connected with the 
history of the town itself, is so peculiar and anoma- 
lous, that a brief description of it will not be without 
interest. A volume would hardly suffice to notice 
the subject in all its details. Subjects as the citi- 
zens of the "Post" have been to the three greatest 
powers of the world, exclusive of the colonial de- 
pendence on Virginia, France, England and the 
United States, each of whom have had military 
possession of the place, and each of whom have re- 
gulated its civil government within the last hundred 
years, it may readily be supposed that its titles, 
and its laws, have been as variant as the codes of 
these three great nations, to each of whom in turn 
they have owed allegiance. Their titles have been 
regulated as well by the '' Contmne du Parisy^ the 
"Customs of Paris," as the Common Law of Eng- 
land, and the Statutes of the United States. Each 
have made grants to the "ancient inhabitants," and 
under titles derived from each of the great empires 
above named, they have, for the most part, held 



PUBLIC LANDS. 



107 



possession, and theso have at diiferent times been 
confirmed by the authority of the United States. 
It was peculiarly right and appropriate that this 
should have been done, and although no doubt 
many claims were allowed which were not strictly 
legitimate, yet their long possession, previous occu- 
pancy, and prior rights — oven though no written 
grant or concession could he shown — made it tho 
duty of the Government, after the cession of Vir- 
ginia, to give to these people, where it could possibly 
be done, a title which from that time would bo un- 
questioned. There being no public records here, 
whenever grants and concessions were made, (for not 
one in one hundred could probably read or write,) 
they passed by deliver//, and possession of their land 
or lot was at least prima facie evidence of their 
title. The boundaries of these concessions were 
not very accurate or well defined ; and the honest 
and unsuspecting Frenchman took about the quan- 
tity which he deemed conceded by the terms of the 
grant, which generally was so many "toises" or 
"arpents," "more or less." There was no action of 
ejectment known among these primitive settlers, 
and if the land of his neighbor was encroached ujton, 
the line v\'as settled by the arbitrement of their 
neighbors, or the "order of the commandant," 
whose decree in the premises was a finality, from 
which there was no appeal. Even the original con- 
cessions themselves, made by the French and Brit- 
ish commandants, were generally made upon small 
scraps of paper, which it was customary, if placed 
anywhere, to deposit in the "notary's otfice." He 



108 



APPENDIX. 



;!»; 







kept no record, but committed the most important 
documents to loose sheets, which in the changes of 
government, and in tlie lapse of time, came into the 
hands of those who fraudulently destroyed them, 
or thinking them of no consequence, lost or Liade 
way with them. By the law which governed these 
titles, the "Customs of Paris," they were considered 
"a family inheritance," and often descended to 
women and children. In one instance during the 
government of "Monsieur St. Ange," who was 
commandant at the "Post in 1774," a royal notary 
ran off with all the public papers in his possession. 
And in the office of Mr. Le Grand, who was notary 
from 1776 to 1778, Gov. Sargent, who was acting 
Governor in 1790, (Gen. St. Clair being absent,) 
states in his letter to General Washington, of the 
date, Vincenncs, Knox county, July 31st, 1790, 
*' that the records have been so falsified, and there 
is such gross fraud and forgery as to invalidate all 
evidence and information, which I might otherwise 
have acquired from the papers." ' ' 

In addition to these granls and concessions to the 
"ancient inhabitants of che Post," there was a 
grant by one of the French commandants, while the 
country was under the dominion of Louis the 15th, 
of one hundred and fifty acres adjoining the vil- 
lage," (being that portion of the town laying between 
what is now Busseron street and the railroad depot, 
extending out into the prairie,) to the ** PiankasAaio 
Indians''^^ tribe now, I believe, nearly extinct, 
but then claiming to bring five hundred warriors 
into the field. This tract was held by the Indians, 



PUBLIC LANDS. 



109 



occupied by their wigwams, and by them cultivated 
and improved until about the year 1786, when they 
removed to the upper Wabash, and gave, or sold 
their respective interests as they moved off, to their 
neighbors, the French. Congress subsequently 
confirmed their titles. See Act, March 3d, 1791. 

Subsequent to the capture of the "Post" by 
Clark, sometime in the year 1779, Col. John Todd 
was sent out here as Governor and Commandant, 
by the Executive and Legislative Council of Vir- 
ginia, clothed with a "brief authority," for he re- 
mained hero but a short time, passing on to Kas- 
kaskia and appointing Mr. Lo Gras, Lieut. Gov- 
ernor in his place. 

During his sojourn, however, ho played "some 
fantastic tricks," and assumed prerogatives in refer- 
ence to the public lands, by no means to be derived 
from his gubernatorial powers, as the representa- 
tive of Virginia, in this newly acquired territory. 
Notwithstanding, Virginia by act of legislation had 
expressly declared, before ho was appointed, "that 
the lands north-west of the Ohio were expressly ex- 
empted from location, and no person should be 
allowed pre-emption, or any benefit whatever from 
settling the same," and the Governor was directed 
" to issue his proclamation forbidding all persona 
from settling on them, and in case of disobedience, to 
make use of force to remove them." As early as 
1787, Congress passed the following resolution : 
., "Besolved, That the Secretary of War direct the 
commanding olficer of the troops of the United 
States, on the Ohio, to take immediate and efficient 



110 



APPENDIX. 



1^^ 
P 
If 



i 



wn 

!'i:-^ 



i 



measures for dispossessing a body of men, who have, 
in a lawless and unauthorizod manner, taken posses- 
sion of "Pos< Si. Vincen%^' in defiance of the pro- 
clamation and authority of the United States,, and 
that he employ the whole, or such part of the force 
under his command, as he shall judge necessary to 
effect the object." 

Todd went to Kaskaskia in 1779, where he issued 
his proclamation descriptive of the fertility and 
beauty of the "Valley of the Wabash," and strong- 
ly intimating that "authority was meant to be im- 
plied" — if not expressly given — ^to the Governor 
by Virginia, to make grants of land. That the 
Executive authority under Virginia in the north- 
western territory, had the same right to make con- 
cessions of land as was claimed bv the French and 
British commandantB. Mr. Le Gras, his substi- 
tute at the "Post," seems to have had fewer scru- 
ples upon the subject of the right than his superior, 
Governor Todd. Not only did he exercise the pow- 
er of disposing of the public domain, but he dele- 
gated it to the County Court, composed of four 
judges, organized under the act of Virginia, and 
who held their sessions at Vincennes. They did 
a wholesale business in the way of disposing of the 
domain — not only to others, but to themselves — not 
only by the "arpent," but by "leagues." The way 
it is stated to have been done is this: Three of the 
four judges were left on the bench, while one ro* 
tired. The court then made a grant of so many 
^*' leagues" of land to their absent colleague, which 
was entered of record — ^he returned as soon as the 



PUBLIC LA.ND3. 



Ill 






grant was recorded, and another of these "ermined" 
gentlemen left the bench, while the Chief Justice 
and the other Judges made a similar grant to their 
absent friend. After the grant was made and duly 
recorded, he returned — the third departed, and a 
similar record was made for his benefit; and so with 
the fourth. In this wholesale transfer of the pub- 
lic land, if continued, Virginia would have had but a 
small donation to make her sister States of the confed- 
eracy, when she gave up the empire she held in the 
north-western territory "for the common benefit." 
Governor Sargent complainsof their wholesale plun- 
der of the public domain, in his letter to General 
Washington in 1790, and among the documents ac- 
companying that letter, is the answer of the Judges 
to his enquiry, "by what right these concessions 
were made," and is as follows: 
"To the Honorable Winthrop Sargent, Esquire, 
Secretary in and for the Territory of the United 
States, north-west of the river Ohio, and vested 
with all powers of Governor and Commander-in- 
Chief: 

Sir: — As you have given orders to the Magis- 
trates who formerly composed the Court of the Dis- 
trict of Vincennes, under the jurisdiction of Virgin- 
ia, to give you their reasons for having taken upon 
them to grant concessions for the lands within the 
district, in obedience thereto, we beg leave to inform 
you that their principal reason is, that since the es- 
tablishment of the country, the Commandants have 
always appeared to be vested with powers to give 
lands. Their founder, Mr. Vincennes, began to 



112 



aff£n:)ix. r 



m 



■ji' ■;■ 






w 



give concessions, and all his successors have given 
lands and lots. Mr. Lc Gras was appointed com* 
mandantof "Post Vincennes" by the Lieutenant 
of the county and commander-in-chief, John Todd, 
who wtis in the year 1779 sent by the State of Vir- 
ginia for to regulate the government of the country^ 
and who substituted Mr. Le Gras with his power. 
In his absence, Mr. Le Gras, who was then com- 
mandant, assumed that he had in quality of com- 
mandant, authority to give lands according to the 
ancient usages of other commanders, and he verbally 
informed the court of "Post Vincennes" that when 
th^ would judge it proper to give lands or lots to 
those who should come into the country to settle, or 
otherwise, they might do it, and that he gave them 
permission so to do. These are the reasons that we 
acted on, and if we have done more than we ought, 
it was on account of the little knowledge which wo 
had of public affairs. . ;i; • • 

We are with great respect^ .,* -< 
Your honors most obedient, 

And very humble servants, 
F. BOSSERON, . 
L. E. DELINE, 
, , , , PIERRE GAMELIN, 

,/.'... > PIERRE QUEREZ, M his mark. 
Post Vincennes, July 3d, 1790. ., • - ,,» i . ;* 
Whether his honor, "Pierre Querez," made "his 
mark" with his pen or his sword^ as the sturdy Ba- 
rons did, who wrenched the charter from King 
John, history gives no intimation. It is however 
but fair to presume that as one of the '* Justices of 



PUBLIC LANDS. 



113 



the quorum" established at ''the Post'' in 1790 by 
"John Todd of Virginia," who was "'sent for to re- 
gulate the government^'' that it was with his pen. 

One thing, however, is very certain, "the school- 
master was notabroad" much at the "Post" in 1790, 
or ''Judge Querez" would have given us a specimen 
of his chirography, and which, as a faithful annal- 
ist, I regret to say, I believe he was unable to do. 
As an impartial historian, however, of the actings 
and doings of the "Post" seventy years since, I feel 
it my duty to state, that the land operations of the 
'^Honorable Pierre Querez,^' as one of the Judges of 
the "Court of Common Pleas for the counties of 
Vincennes and Illinois," have made their "mark" 
as well upon the Records of the Land Office, as 
those of the Court of which he was an honorable mem- 
ber. I find that in the Report of the Commission- 
ers for "examining claims to land in the district of 
Vincennes, in pursuance of the act of Congress of 
March 4tli, 1804," in a schedule of "cases not cm- 
braced by any act of Congress," and rejected, is to 
be found the following claims: "Thomas Flower 
claims an undivided third part of an undivided 
fourth part of a grant made by the Court to "Pierre 
Querez," father, and Pierre Querez, son, of a tract of 
land beginning at theRiver Marie, to White Riv- 
er, and ahoiht ten leagues deep, excluding from said 
grant any land that may have been granted, as as- 
signee of Pierre Querez, father." 

"The heirs of Isaac Decker, assignee of Pierre 
Querez, father^ claim two thousand acres, part of the 
preceding grant." 






lU 



APPENDIX. 



m 



m 



!::P 



.1: :';' 



^'Jonathan Furcell, assignee of Pierre Querez, 
claims ^i;0 thousand acres of the same grant." 

'^Thomas Flower, assignee of Pierre Querez, claims 
twinin thousand acres of the same grant." 

"Thomas Flower claims an uncertain quantity of 
the same grant." 

It is but justice to "Judge Querez" to say, that he 
was not alone of the Honorable Court to whom the 
whole country, to which the Indian title had been 
extinguished, was parceled out. Judge Gamelin 
seems to have come in for a fair share. For in the 
same document, I find among the rejected claims: 

"Thomas Flower, as assignee of Pieire (■amelin^ 
(AsAins forty-one thousand acres" 

"Jonathan Purcell, assignee of Pierre Gardelin and 
Nicholas FerroitfClaimQ twenty-seven tlunisand acres" 

Truly, if there had been a confirmation of these 
magnificent grants, the office of Judge would have 
been much more valuable and lucrative than it is 
in this hard-working and poorly-paid era, if we take 
our judiciary as an example. 

These immense and unauthorized grants gave a 
great deal of trouble to the Government in the early 
settlement of Indiana, and for many years after. 
For as late as 1802, we find Gen. Harrison, under 
date of June 19th of that year, being then Gover- 
nor of the Territory, writing to Mr. Madison, Secre- 
tary of State, as follows: 

ViNCENNEs, June 19th, 1802. 

Sir— The circumstances mentioned in this letter 

I have considered of sufficient importance to be 

communicated to the President. The Court est. .b- 

lishcd at this place, under the authority of the State 



PUBUC LANDS. 



116 



of 



of Virginia^ in the year 1780, (as I before have done 
myself the honor to inform you,) assumed to ihem,' 
selves the right of granting land to every applicant. 
Having exercised this power for some time, without 
opposition, they began to conclude that their right 
over the land was supreme^ and that they could, with 
as much propriety, grant to themselves as to others. 
Accordingly, an arrangement was made, by which 
the whole country to which the Indian title was sup- 
posed to be extinguished, was divided between the 
members of the Court, and orders to that eifect en- 
tered on the Journal— each member absenting 
himself from the Court on the day that the 
order, was to be made in his favor, so that it might 
appear to be the act of his fellows only. The tract 
thus disposed of extends on the Wabash River, 
twenty-four leagues from "Point Coupe," to the 
mouth of White River, and forty leagues into the 
country west, and thirty east from the Wa- 
bash, excluding only the land immediately surround- 
ing the town, which had before been granted to the 
amount of twenty or thirty thousand acres. 

"The authors of this ridiculous transaction soon 
found that no advantage could bo derived from it, 
as they could find no purchasers ; and I belive that 
the idea of holding any part of the land, was, by the 
greater part of them, abandoned a few years ago. 
However, the claim was discovered, and a part of it 
purchased by some of those speculators who infest 
our country, and, through these people, a number of 
others in different parts of the United States have 
become concerned, some of whom are actually pre- 



116 



APFENMX. 




paring to make settlements on the land the ensuing^ 
spring. Indeed, I should not bo surprised to see- 
jive hundred families settling under these titles in 
the course of a year. The price at which this land 
is sold enables any body to become a purchaser — 
one thomand acres being frequently sold for an in- 
different horse or gun. And as a formal deed is 
made reciting the grant of the Court, (made as pre- 
tended under the authority of Virginia,) many igr 
norant people have been induced to part with their 
little all to obtain^ this ideal property ; and they 
will no doubt endeavor to strengthen their claim as- 
soon as they discover the deception, by an actual 
settlement. The extent of these speculations was. 
unknown to me until lately. I am now informed 
that a number of persons are in the habit of repair- 
ing to this place (Vincennes,) whore they purchase 
two or three hundred thoifsand acres of this claim, for 
which they^et a deed properly authenticated and re- 
corded, and then disperse themselves over the Uni- 
ted States to cheat the ignorant and credulous.. In 
some measure to check this practice, I have forbid- 
den the Recorder and Prothonotary of this county 
from recording or authenticating any of these pa- 
pers — ^having determined that the official seals of 
the Territory shall not be prostituted to a purpose 
so base as that of assisting an infamous fraud. 
I have the honor to be, &c., 

WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON. 
To the Hon. James Madison, Secretary of State. 

No confirmation of the grants made by this "Hon- 
orable Courf^ was ever made by the Government ; 



PUfiiLIC LiLVDS. 



117 



ftiid as the sums paid, "an indifferent horse or a ri- 
fle gun," for "two or three hundred thousand acres 
of land," were trifling for the original purchasers, no 
great loss was suiferedby them; the purchasers wwdfer 
them may have "suftered some." Land speculations 
ill these more modern tin^s are not quite as cheap 
or extensive, except in cases of railroad grants. 

I append here a copy of a "Court Grant" made 
by "Le Grand," Clerk of the Court, in French, from 
the old records of the Land Oflfice in 1785, as a cu- 
riosity : 

Savant le pouvoirs donnes a Mons'rs Les Magis- 
trals de la Coiir de St. Vincennes, par le Snr. Joan 
Todd, Colonel et Grand Juge civil pour Les Etats 
Unis, (Signer John Todd, Colonel and Civil Grand 
Justice of the United States.) La sus ditte Cour, 
apres avoir examine et murement delibere qu'il est 
de neccssite essenticlle, que La Ville (the City of 
Vincennes) et la campagne, soist etablie par des ha- 
bitants, pour le soutien et commerce du pais du 
Conte Des Illinois et St Vincenne, et voyant le 
grand quantite des terres incultes, et qui n'ont 
jamais ete etablie, ni concede, par aucune personne, 
et en vertu de les pouvoirs. La Snr. Le Gras, Col- 
onel Commandant et President pe la sus ditto Cour, 
a respondre une requette et signee, on il est ordonne, 
a moy Gabriel Le Grand, griffier de la Cour, de 
^onjjeder et accorder Henry Coupraiter (his name 
WAS Henry Cooprider,) une terre de quatre cent ar- 
penten circumference, size et situ6e a I'^st du 
Marais de la ville, du cliemaine du fort, aparent 
Bornee a Jean Coupraiter; ^t des autres cot'O^s, an 



118 



APPENDIX. 



i4^ 

m 

111 



m .A 



terre non conced6e, pour ^njuir le dit Henry Cou- 
praiter ses heirs. Et ayant causee en pleinne pro- 
priety possessions et jouissance; comme bien a lui 
appartenant, en ce soumettant au reglement qui en 
seront fait par la puissance a ce siijet, et a etablir 
dans I'an et jour, et e'tenir feu et lieu. Donn6 au 
dit Coupraiter, pour lui servir et valloir, ce que de 
raison. Ce six Juin, 1786. 

LE GRAND, Greffier, de la Cour. 

En registre du Gref de la ville St. Vincenne, au 
folio 308. 

That is to say in the King's English : 

That the Court, knowing the power given to them 
by "SiGNOR John Todd, Colonel and Civil Grand 
Justice of the United States," after having ex- 
amined and duly deliberated on the absolute neces- 
sity, not only to the "City of Vincennes," but to the 
whole countr}'^, that the lands hereabouts should be 
settled, for the supply and commerce of the 
"County of Illinois and Vincennfs," and see- 
ing the great quantity of land uncultivated, which 
has never been settled nor granted to any one — ^the 
Court, by virtue of the powers given to them, the 
Signor Le Gras, Colonel Commandant, and President 
of said Court, has responded favorably to the writ- 
ten request of "Henry Coupraiter," and directed 
me, "Gabriel Le Grand, Clerk of the Court," to grant 
and accord to said Coupraiter four hundred arpents 
of landi bounded^ &c. He, the said "Henry Couprai- 
ter submitting to all regulations made between a 



ric 



PUBLIC LANDS. 



119 



All which is duly enrolled in the Records of Vin- 
cennes, folio 308, and was exhibited before the 
Board of Commissioners, as appears by their re- 
cord, March 26th, 1804. 

**Signor John Todd, Colonel and Civil Grand Jus- 
tice of the United States," who, seventy-two years 
since, was "Tetrach of these Provinces," now con- 
stituting the great States of Indiana and Illinois, and 
whose word was law (and for aught I know gospel 
too,) to the simple-minded Frenchmen here and at 
Kaskaskia, who gave away townships of land on a 
mere written request; and "Signor Le Grras, Colonel 
Commandant and President of the Court," and the 
more humble but not less useful "Le Grand, 
Clerk," where are they? Echo answers — where? 
Long since gathered to their fathers — their name 
and fame unknown, except in the musty archives of 
the Vincennes Land Office. What would they say 
if, by the same great power that created and de- 
stroyed them, they were permitted to revisit the 
scenes of their past labors — were .again to become 
denizens of earth — and witness the changes that 
have here taken place — were to stand upon the banks 
of the "Oubache" and view the population, wealth 
and enterprise of the Anglo-Saxon race along its 
borders — to see the towns which have risen as if by 
magic — ^the cultivated farms, the manufactories, the 
churches, colleges and schools? — to see in the place 
of the bark canoe of the Indian paddling along its 
clear waters, the steamboat loaded with our rich 
products destined for the sunny South, and bounding 
over its surface as if it had the vitality and speed of 



120 



APPENDIX. 



the racer? Suppose they stood again upon the "/»>• 
dian Fields" then the location of the Piankishaw 
Village^ and extending their vision but a short dis- 
tance, saw the steam locomotive, with its long train 
of passenger and freight cars, trailing like some 
huge anaconda across the commons, black with 
smoke and wreathed with steam, shrieking with its 
whistle and sounding afar off, giving out a screech 
compared with which the war-whoop of a thousand 
Indian warriors would be insignificant and unheard! 
Suppose again "Signor John Todd, Colonel and 
Grand Justice of the United States," wished to 
communicate with Patrick Henry, Governor of Vir- 
ginia, or with Mr. Jefferson, and to inform them of 
his arrival here , should seek out some "courier du 
bois," some half breed, to traverse what he thought 
was still the wilderness between Post Vincennes and 
Richmond — should be told that if he would walk a 
square, the message would be sent and an answer be 
returned in thirty mmutcs. Would not "the Grand 
Judge of the United States's" hair stand on end and 
his voice cleave to his jaws, as all these marvels of 
the nineteenth century developed themselves to his 
own and the muddled understandings of his compa- 
nions, "Signor Le Gras, Colonel Commandant at 
Post St. Vincennes," and ^'Gabriel Le Grand, Greffier 
de la Cour," at the same place, in the year of our 
Lord, 1787? Such have been the changes, such the 
wonders, in but little over half a century. What 
will they be in half a century more? Let those chro- 
nicjle them who succeed us. .,, ,m^j;.., 



I'l 



■.;..f.,. 






.r 



^*^,-\^--'. 't.V, T>7> 



PUBLIC LANDS. 



121 



At a very early period, under the confederation, 
the right of the settlers at "JPost Vincennes" to 
their lots and lands became a subject of considera- 
tion by Congress. In the month of August, 1788, 
on the report of a committee consisting of Messrs. 
Williamson, Dane, Clark, Tucker and Baldwin, to 
whom was referred the report of a former commit- 
tee respecting the inhabitants of Vincennes, the fol- 
lowing resolution was adopted: Resolved^ That 
measures be taken for confirming in their posses- 
sions and titles, the French and Canadian inhabi- 
tants and other settlers at " Post St. Vincennes," 
(this title of '^St. Vincennes" is used in all the old 
acts of Congress, where the town is mentioned; 
though it was never understood by the * 'ancient in- 
habitants" that "Captain Fruncais Morgan de Vin- 
senne," its founder, was enrolled upon the calender 
of Saints,) who, on or before the year 1783, had set- 
tled there and had professed themselves citizens of 
the United States, or any of them,, and for laying off 
to them the several tracts which they rightfully claim, 
and which may have been allotted to them accord- 
ing to the laws and usages of the Government un- 
der which they have respectively scttleil." At the 
same time, and on report of the same committee, 
instructions were given to Gen. St. Clair, then Gover- 
nor of the North- Western Territory, and then on the 
Mississippi endeavoring "to extinguish the titles of 
any of the Indians to the east side of the Mississip- 
pi above the mouth of the Ohio," to take "Post St. 
Vincennes" on his route back, and pursue such mea- 
sures as were directed under the resolution above 



122 



APPENDIX. 



In>' 

m 



(■^^ 






■-.Ifi ■ I 



.■(■ 'i' I 



mentioned, for confirming the titles of the inhabi- 
tants. So far from being enabled to treat with the 
Indians for their lands on the east side of the Mis- 
sissippi above the Ohio, the Indians manifested a 
belligerent disposition, and actually made an attack 
upon the settlement near Kahokia while the Gover- 
nor was there, utterly refusing to meet in Council 
with him, oither there or at Vincennes, which latter 
town was proposed as the place for holding their de- 
liberations. War seemed inevitable ; and the de- 
fenceless settlements at Kahokia, Kaskaskia, and 
Vincennes seemed destined for destruction. Gov- 
ernor St. Clair, therefore, without carrying out the 
instructions contained in the resolution above reci- 
ted, left the Illinois country and hastened to the 
headquarters of Gener;] Harmar, commanding the 
troops in the Western Department, having his head- 
quarters at what is now the city of Cincinnati, to 
concert with him a plan of an expedition against the 
Indians in the North- Western Territory, "which, if 
approved by the President, might disconcert the In- 
dians, and place the settlements in safety." Before 
leavmg the Illinois, Gov. St. Clair committed the 
execution of the resolutions of Congress to Mr. Se- 
cretary Sargent, then at Vincennes, upon whom the 
powers of Governor devolved in the absence of Ge- 
neral St. Clair, who proceeded at once "to lay off to 
the ancient inhabitants of the Post the several tracts 
which they rightfully claimed, and which may have 
been allotted to them according to "the laws and 
usages of the Governments, French and English, 
under which they respectively claimed." He says 



PUBLIC LANDS. 



123 



in the report he made to the President, "That a 
petition has been presented by the inhabitants of 
Vincennes, praying for a confirmation of the land 
held by them as Commons, containing about »ive 
thousand acres, which had been about thirtij years 
under fence, which was intended to keep their cattle 
within its boundaries and out of their wheat fields. 
For (says he,) contrary to the usage of farmers gen- 
erally, the cattle are enclosed and tlie cuUivatcd lands 
are left at largeV Such was the indifference of these 
primitive inhabitants in reference to their titlos, that 
although they claimed this land under a grant of one 
of their Commandants a half a century before, they 
had not a scrap of paper to evidence their right to 
it. Congress, however, on the recommendation of 
Col. Sargent, subsequently confirmed their title, and 
the property has since been divided and sold out. 

"I have (says he) another petition, signed by one 
hundred atii thirty-one Canadian, Frenoh and Amer- 
ican inhabitants, all enrolled in tha militia, set- 
ting forth that many of them were heads of 
families, in 1783," "that they were willing 
to perform an extraordinary share of military 
duty, anu soliciting Congress to make them 
a donation of lands." "In justice to the peti- 
tioners (says Col. Sargent) I deem it incumbent on 
me to observe, that the commanding officer of the 
regular troops here, has been obliged, in some in- 
stances, to demand their services for convoys of pro- 
visions up the Wabash river, and from the weakness 
of t he garrison and the present difficulties of commu- 
nication with other posts and the Ohio, that he may 



124 



APPENDIX. 



have frequent occasion for their aid, which I have 
no doubt will be yielded at all times with the great- 
est cheerfulness." By an act of Congress, approved 
March 3d, 1791, fxnir hundred acres of land was giv- 
en to "each of those persons who, in 1783, were 
heads of families at Vincennes, or in the Illinois 
country on the Mississippi, and who, since that time, 
have removed from one of said places to the other ; 
and the Governor of the Territory north-west of 
the Ohio was directed to lay the same out for them , 
either at Vincennes or in the Illinois country, as 
they shall severally elect." These are what p.re now 
styled "Donation Tracts." 

Never were a set cf men more justly entitled to 
this grantthan the old French settlers at Vincennes 
and on the Mississippi. Whether as subjects of the 
"Grand Monarque," or of George the 2d and George 
the 3d — as colonists under Virginia or citizens of the 
United States — they had been ioyal and patriotic. 
The change of Government seems to have made no 
great difference in their habits or manners; and as 
to their political opinions, isolated as they were from 
the rest of the world, a change of rulers troubled 
them but little. The revolutions of empires went 
^on without any knowledge of theirs, until it 
was made known to them by a personal acquaint- 
ance with the French mousguetaire, the English gre- 
nadier, the American rifleman, or the United States' 
regular. Submissive and obedient, they yielded to 
the powers that were, made no complaint, offered 
no resistance, cultivated their common fields, sang, 
danced, smoked their pipes, were regular at the 



PUBLIC LANDS. 



126 



morning matin and evening vespers, content to take 
this world as it went, and satisfied with the next if 
no worse than this. No people, perhaps, on the face 
of the globe were more contented or happy But a 
new generation has arisen, and the progress of 
"Young America," it is to be feared, is likely, ere 
this century is ended, to spoil their ancient posses- 
sions and overturn the land-marks, which once 
marked the resting place of these "sons of St. 
Louis" — once extending from the Lakes to the Mis- 
sissippi, through the rich valleys of the Wabash and 
the Illinois. 

In addition to the grant of four hundred acres of 
land made by Congress "to the heads of families at 
Vincennes in 1783," another grant was made by the 
act above referred to, "of a tract of land, not exceed- 
ing one hundred acres, to each person who had not 
obtained any donation of land from the United 
States, and who, on i\io first cJaj/ of August, one thou- 
sand seven hundred and ninety/, was enrolled in the 
militia at Vincennes or the Illinois country ,.and had 
done militia duty. (See note in Appendix.) The 
several grants thus made are embraced in three 
claims: 1st. Donations to heads of families, who 
WLTO here in 1783. 2dly, ISurret/s under grants or 
concessions made by the former Trench and Eng- 
lish commandants. 3dly, Locations under wliat were 
called militia rights, and which have been confirmed 
by Congress. I cannot close this long note without 
introducing one more extract from the letter of Col. 
Sargent, Secretary of the Territory, and acting Go>'- 
ernor, to Gen. Washington, then President of the 



126 



APPENDIX. 



I 

1 1 






4U 






United States, of the date of July 31st, 1790, as evi> 
dence, if any were waiting, of the patriotism of the 
citizens of the "Post," the sacrifices they had made, 
the losses they had incurred on behalf of the United 
States, 9101^ one dollar of which has been ^ aid. I do 
not speak of the depreciated currency which they 
received in the continental paper of Virginia, 
brought out by Clark and his troops, the only mo- 
ney he had in his military chest, to conquer an em- 
pire defended by some of the best troops in theEng- 
lis service during the Revolution, and which misera- 
ble trash, to this day unredeemed and worthless, was 
received dollar for dollar at par by the French inha- 
bitants at Vincennes and Kaskaskia for supplies, 
without which Clark could not have held the coun- 
try a week; but of those advances, in "Piastres," 
silver dollars^ made by Vigo and others, including 
Father Gibault, and without which advances in 
stiver^ Clark could never have marched from Kas- 
kaskia to Vincennes, conquered the place, and made 
Hamilton and his troops prisoners, adding by that 
conquest, and that alone, live great States to our 
Confederacy. Yet of the sum of nearly nine thou- 
sand dollars in specie furnished Clark in the cam- 
paign in the Illinois, in 1778-9, and for which Clark 
gave him bills on the "agent of Virginia," that came 
back protested "for want of funds," Vigo nor his 
heirs to this day has never got a dollar, cither from 
Virginia or the United States. So with the good 
priest, "Father Gibault," who, with the same view 
of aiding Clark and benefitting the American 
cause, advanced him seven thousand eight hundred 



PUBUC LANDS. 



137 



Ivures, French money— «qual to fifUm himdred and 
sixty dollars of ours — "who parted with his tithes 
and beasts only to set an example to his parishion- 
ers" to make equal sacrifices for the American 
cause; and who, for the want of this very money, 
(see his letter to Gen. St. Clair, Note 1,) " had to 
sell two good slaves, who would have been the 
support of his old age, and for want of whom he 
was dependent on the public." This good man 
and pure patriot, or his heirs or descendants,, never, 
to this day, have received for these advances one 
dime, cither from Virginia, who received the bene- 
fit of these advances, or the United States, who 
acquired the territory "without fee or reward;" 
and who, from the sale of it, has placed untold 
millions in her treasury. I will conclude this long 
note by a short extract from the concluding part 
of Gov. Sargent's letter to Gen. Washington, from 
"^''incenncs, of the date Jul}' 31st, 1790: 

"Before I close this letter. Sir, I must take the 
liberty of representing to Congress, by desire of the 
citizens of this countv, and a matter which I hum- 
bly conceive they should be informed of, that there 
are, not only at this place, but in the several villa- 
ges upon the Mississippi, considerable claims for 
supplies before and since 1783, which no person as 
yet has been authorized to attend to, and which is 
very injurious to the interests and feelings of men, 
who seem to have been exposed to a variety of dis- 
tresses and impositions by characters pretending to 
have acted under the orders of the Government. — 
The people of Vincennes have requested me to 
make known their sentiments of fidelity and attach- 



128 



APPENDIX. 



:m 



i-: 



ment to the United States, and the satisfaction they 
feel in being received into their protection, which I 
beg leave to communicate in their own words, by 
the copy of an address presented to me on the 23d 
instant." 

True to theii bits and instincts, these "children 
of St. Louis" were transferred from one Govern- 
ment to another — to Great Britain, to Virginia, to 
the United States — ^without a murmur and without a 
thought of the future. The records of the Land Office 
here show, that after cession of the country by France 
to Great Britain, in 1763, they took the oath of al- 
legiance before "Rumsey, Sub-Lieutenant of his 
Majesty's 42d regiment, and Judge Advocate of the 
Province of Illinois, in 1708," sent out here, as he 
himself asserts on the record, "with power and au- 
thority to examine the land titles of the Province of 
Illinois, and administer the oath of allegiance to its 
inhabitants." To Helms, £=ent here bv Clark in 
1778. To Hamilton, who captured Helms, and 
retook the place in December of the same year. To 
(nark in 1779. To Harmar, Jilt. Clair and Sar- 
geant, on behalf of the United States. In the short 
space of twenty years, what changes were effected 
in the political condition of the inhabitants of the 
"Post!" We have no parallel on the continent. Al- 
ways brave, always obedient, always loyal, the idea 
of resistence "to the powers that be" never entered 
the head of the "ancient inhabitant.' He smoked 
his pipe, looked at the change with indifference, and 
acknowledged the power and authority of his "com- 
mandant," whether he was a Sub-Lieutenant of liis 



TEBRITORIAL ACQUISITION. 



i2d 



Majesty's 42d regiment, a Captain of Virginia Ri- 
flemen, or a Commander-in-Chief of the United 
States troops for the Western Department. "2W 
le meme chose'^ was the ready reply, as he took the 
oath, kissed the book, shrugged his shoulders, and 
gave an additional whiff from his pipe. Happy^ 
thrice happy people, in whose brains the treasona- 
ble doctrines of secession or nuUifioation never en- 
tered. 



V. 



TERRITORIAL ACaUISITION. 

TDK BXTRNSTON OF OUR TF.RRITORIA f. LIMITS TO TUB MtSSTSSIPPI AT TIIB 
TUBATY OP PRAOK IN 17(3— 0AII9K» OPRKATINQ TO PttODCOB THAT SX- 
TBH3I0N— KREX^nON OF F0RT3 ItY OLARK-SUftVEYS. 

The foresight of Mr. Jefferson, even during the 
most arduous struggles of the Revolution, had recog- 
nized with the eye of the statesman, the future of 
that vast region of country lying between the Miami 
and the Mississippi, the Lakes and the Ohio, deno- 
minated the "North-Western Territory," then the 
property of Virginia, ceded by her to the United 
States, and now comprising the four great States of 
Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. Not- 
withstanding the trials and difficulties which sur- 
rounded him— notwithstanding the cares and trou- 
bles attendant upon his office as Governor of Vir- 
ginia, during the most trying times of the Revolu- 
tion, and at a time when not only the 9oil of his 



130 



APPENDIX. 



iK *■ , 



:!"^t''i 



native State was in possession of the foe, but the 
seat of Government was migratory, as the British 
troops advanced or retreated — though he himself 
was a fugitive from Monticello, which had been 
taken possession of by Tarleton and his troops, he 
never lost sight of the great western empire, above 
described, which, thanks to the bravery of Clark 
and his gallant followers, had, by the conquest of 
Vincennes, become the property of Virginia. It 
was in the year 1779, after the capture of Hamilton, 
and when Clark had returned to Williamsburgli, 
then the seat of government of the "Ancient Do- 
minion," that strong hopes were entertained of 
peace between the Mother Country and the Colo- 
nies, through the mediation of Spain; and Con- 
gress, in settling the basis upon which a treaty, if 
effected, was to be made, established the uti possidetis 
as the only terms on which a satisfactory arrange- 
ment could be made. The object of Mr. Jefferson 
was to secure, by actual possession, the immense 
Western Territory claimed by Virginia, to its ut- 
most limits, extending to the east side of the Mis- 
sissippi, He therefore "engaged a scientific corps 
to proceed under au escort to the Mississippi, and 
ascertain, by celestial observations, the point on that 
river intersected by the latitude thirty-six degrees 
thirty minutes, (36 deg. 30 min.,) the southern 
limit of the State, and to measure its distance to 
the Ohio." General Clark, fresh from the field of his 
victory— the emptor of Hamilton, and the "Post," 
which had secured this immense Territory to his 
native State— was selected by Mr. Jefferson to con- 



TERRITORIAL ACQUISITION. 



131 



duct the military operations in that quarter. The 
selection was a fit and appropriate one; no better 
could have been made. He was instructed, as soon as 
the southern line on the Mississippi should be ascer- 
tained, "to select a strong position near that pointy 
to establish there a fort and garrison; thence to ex- 
tend his conquests northward to the Lakes, erecting 
forts at different points, which might serve as mon- 
uments of actual possession, besides affording pro- 
tection to that portion of the country." Under these 
orders, Fort Jefferson^ in compliment to the founder 
of the enterprise, was erected and garrisoned on the 
Mississippi, a few miles above the southern limit. 
The result of these operations — of this expedition 
of Clark — was the addition, to the chartered limits 
of Virginia, of that immense region known as the 
"Xorth- Western Territory," and comprehending 
the {States above mentioned. At the treaty of peace 
with Great Britain, in 1783, the only pretence of 
claim set up by our Commissioners to this vast em- 
pire, was the conquest of it by Clark, and the estab- 
lishment of the forts and garrisons to the Lakes by 
himself and trooj^s, "serving as the monuments of our 
possession," and, carrying out the rule of ''^uti lyossi- 
detis,^' was adopted as the basis of our negotiations. 
The British Commissioners had to yield to evidences 
so apparent of our use and occupation, and the Mis- 
sissippi became our boundary on the west and the 
Lakes on the north, through the wisdom of Jeffer- 
son and the valor and enterprise of Clark. But 
where now are these monuments of title? — these 
emblems of our power?— these land-marks of 



132 



APPENDIX. 



^1, 






pi 
M 



III 
lit 



our posseasiona nearly seventy years since? Eclio 
answers— where? Their very foundations are re- 
moved. The tall grass of the prairie grows over 
their dilapidated bastions. The plough-share of the 
husbandman has furrowed their parade grounds; 
and the hardy pioneer of the west has long since 
preempted the localities upon which they stood. 
More than one generation of the "Sons of the 
West," who have occupied these fields, have been 
gathered to their fathers; while they, as well as their 
present descendants, have been for the most part 
ignorant of the valor by which they were won, or 
the patriotism and wisdom which secured them« 
The names of Jefierson and Clark should have been 
household words in every log cabin, between the 
Miami and the "Father of Waters," and tho pre- 
sent owners of these countless acres should never 
forget the memory of those, by wliose courage and 
peril this immense empire was added to the Union. 
To no State but Virginia is the West indebted for 
this priceless treasure. It is her child; and cold he 
the tongue and palsied the arm that would not 
speak our gratitude for her princely gift, or atrike a 
bloto, if required, in defence of her honor and her 
rights. I very much doubt whether any other State 
in the old Confederacy, would, under the circum- 
stances, have made such a donation "for the com- 
mon benefit." 



VI. 



lA BALM'S DEFEAT. 

The expedition of La Balm, undertaken in the 
year 1780, from the "Illinois Country," against De» 
troit, then a military post, and occupied by the 
British, I have nerer seen noticed in any work con- 
nected with the early history of the North-West, 
except a short notice of it in Mr. Dillon's first vol* 
nmo of the History of Indiana, where ho briefly 
describes the fact^ and mentions the defeat of his 
party. As a portion of the troops engaged in that 
expedition were raised at the "Post," and many of 
its "ancient inhabitants" were killed by the Indians, 
at the battle fought with them by La Balm, near 
the present site of Port Wayne, I have thought all 
the information to be derived from the old records 
of the Land Office here, in regard to it, may not be 
uninteresting. It is to be regretted that a more par- 
ticular account of the expedition cannot be furnish- 
ed. Of the few parties who were engaged in it and 
made their escape, none now survive; and we have 
no record of it but what appears from the deposi- 
tions taken to prove the actual settlement of parties 
resident here before the year 1783, and claiming the 
donation given to the "heads of families" at Vin- 
cennes previous to that year, of four hundred acres 
of land, as provided for by the act of Congress, ^ 



134 



APPENDIX. 



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In looking over the old records of the Land Office, 
I find that among other testimony taken before the 
Commissioners appointed to investigate land claims, 
in the year 1805, is the following deposition taken 
in the case of "Antonie Rembault's Heirs," claim- 
ing a donation tract in right of their ancestor: 

" Francis Langeiidoc being sworn, deposeth and 
saith, That Antoine Rembault was here at Vin- 
cennes when the Americans took the country; that 
he was a single man, and lived with his father, until 
his father left Vincennes. After the departure of 
his father, which was before the Americans took the 
country, he lived with his brothers in the house left 
by their father; that he was killed in the expedition 
of La Balm against Detroit; i\i2ii the children lived 
altogether in their father's house before Rembault 
went on La Balm's expedition." 

^''Francis Viao, being sworn in the same case, de- 
poseth as to the time when Helms and Clark came 
to Vincennes, and when La Balm carried his ex- 
pedition against Detroit, says, That Captain Helms 
took Vincennes in June or July, 1778, that Ilamil- 
ton took Capt. Helms, and retook Vincennes, about 
the 22d of February, 1779; that La Balm started 
on his expedition against Detroit about the begin- 
ning of August, 1780, from the Illinois; that depo- 
nent has been informed and believes, that La 
Balm was defeated in September of that year, near 
where Fort Wayne now stands." 

The expedition of La Balm against Detroit was 
organized at the "Illinois," probably at Kaskaskia or 
Cahokia, where he enlisted about fifty men, and 



LA balm's defeat. 



136 



de- 



marched to Vincennes for more recruits. What 
number he gathered here is unknown. It is pro- 
bable his whole force amounted to about one hundred 
men. The troops marched to the present site of 
Fort Wayne, where they seized the goods of the 
British traders, who had establishments there, deal- 
ing with the Indians for peltries. It is probable 
that this was the origin of the attack made upon 
them by the Miamis at their encampment on the 
Biver Abolte, a small stream emptying into the 
Wabash above Fort Wayne. The whole party, but 
with few exceptions, were massacred There are a 
number of cases on the old records, where the claim- 
ants, in seeking a grant of land to which they were 
entitled in right of their ancestors as "Heads of Fami- 
lies in Vincennes," previous to the year 1783, state 
in their memorials, and make proof, that those un- 
der whom they claim "were killed in the expedition 
of La Balm against Detroit." The "Post," judging 
from the records, must have met with a serious loss 
in the number of its inhabitants, by La Balm's 
defeat. Great, however, as the loss was, it affords 
another proof of the loyalty and devotion of the 
"ancient inhabitants" to their lately adopted Gov- 
ernment, and their zeal and patriotism on every 
occasion where they could in any way benefit the 
Americans in their struggle for independence. 



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'i'.. .' 



VII. 



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ANCIENT GRANT. 

The following is the oldest written grant of land 
to be found among the papers and grants in th* 
Vincennes Land Office. I copy from the origi- 
nal: 

"Nous, St. Louis Ange, Capitaine et Comman- 
dant pour le lioy, au poste Yincenne, avons con- 
cede a Marie Joseph Richard, veuve, une terro de 
sept arpent de faces, sur cinquanl de profondeur, 
situe au bas du petit roche, tenant des deux cote a 
desterres non concede, la presente et en reconnois- 
sance des bons services, qu'il a rendu, a sa Majeste^ 
en servan d'interprete au Sauvage, pour le detach- 
ment de Monsieur Aubry, venant des Illinois pour lo 
Detroit, lui ayant concede pour son utilite; et avons 
signe au poste, le quinzieme Juin, mille scptc cent 
cinquante neuf. ST. ANGE." 

Which, translated, is as follows: 

"Wc, Louis St. Ange, Captain and Commandant 
for the King at Post Vincennes, have granted to 
Marie Joseph Richard, widow, a tract of land, seven 
arpents front and fifty arpcnts deep, situated below 
the Little Rock, bounded on two sides by land not 
granted. The present is in remembrance of the 
good services which he (her husband) has rendered 
his Majesty in serving as Indian interpreter for the 



"WESTERN SUN," 



137 



detachment of Monsieur Aubry coming from the 
Illinois, and destined for Detroit, granted as her 
own. Signed at the Post, the 16th of June, 1769," 

Ninetynaeven years since! 



a 



VIII. 

WESTERN SUN. 



9> 



TBI rinST PAI'KR PUINTED IN INDIANA TElJRlTrtnY— 'Iir. KDllOK— ANB 
rilK UIVFICUIiTIES ATTKNDINU ITa JuM'AULlMlMKM. 

A work professing to bo a history of the settle- 
ment and early history of Vincennes would be very 
imperfect indeed, did it not give at least a passing 
notice of the first newspaper press established in the 
place; and especially would it be an unpardonable 
omission, when that event is almost co-eval with the 
advent to the place of the Anglo-Saxon race. The 
establishment of a newspaper in a place is an im- 
portant era in its history. The press in modern 
times has become the great conduit through which 
intelligence is generally disseminated among the 
masses. It brings communities in close contact 
with each other, and tends in an eminent degree to 
enlighten, refine and elevate the character of the 
masses generally. Sometime in the year 1803, my 
old friend, Elihu Stout, at that time a citizen of 
Kentucky, determined to emigrate to the Indiana 
Territory, and commence the publication of a news- 



P: 



138 



APPENDIX. 



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ii 



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paper at Vincenncs, at that time the capitol of the 
Territory. The entire Territory was then a wilder- 
ness, with no roads or other avenues of communica- 
tion, and the greatest difficulties and dangers had 
to be encountered in traveling from one part of the 
Territory to another. The settlements were few 
and far between, and almost the entire Territory 
was yet in the possession of the Indians. It was 
at that time an undertaking of no easy performance? 
and any individual, to be successful in it, must com- 
bine in an eminent degree the qualities of firmness 
and perseverance. Fortunately, Mr. Stout possess- 
ed these qualities, and was not deterred on ac- 
count of the difficulties in his way; and no sooner 
had he determined upon the enterprise than he com- 
menced preparations for executing it. For this pur- 
pose, about the last of March, 1804, he purchased a 
press and type in Frankfort, Kentucky, and these, 
with a small amount of printing material, were 
shipped on the Kentucky i iver in a small craft for 
Vincennes. Mr. S. immediately set out on horse- 
back, and reached Vincennes on the 4th of April, 
1804, and 'J)rocured a room for the reception of the 
type and press, which did not arrive until sometime 
in June, having been transported all the way by 
water on boats propelled by hand. As soon as they 
arrived, however, Mr. Stout commenced prepara- 
tions for issuing a paper, which was called th« "In- 
diana Gazette," and on the 4th day of July, 1804, 
the first number of that paper was issued, and its 
publication continued with all possible regularity 
for about eighteen months, when its publication was 



"western sun." 



139 



suspended, on account of an accident by fire, until 
other materials could be procured. These were 
procured, as soon as circumstances would permit, 
from Kentucky, and the publication of the paper 
was resumed, its name being changed to that of the 
"Western Sun." This wa? the first newspaper 
established in the Indiana Territory, now compris- 
ing the four great States of i.idiana, Illinois, Mi- 
chigan and Wisconsin, and the second in all that 
district of country known as the "Territory north- 
west of the Ohio." Its publication was regularly 
continued bv Mr. Stout until the month of Novem- 
ber, 1845j when he was appointed post-master at 
this place, and sold out his press and closed his 
labors as an editor. The publication of the paper 
for many years was continued under many and great 
disadvantages. The Territory was very sparsely 
settled, and a large majority of the inhabitants of 
this place were French, who could not read, and as- 
sisted in no way to support the paper. All his 
printing materials had to be transported from 
Georgetown, Kentucky, that being the nearest point 
where they could be procured. And there being 
no public conveyances at the time, he was com- 
pelled to provide means for transporting them him- 
self. And for many years he was compelled to 
transport all his printing materials on horse-back, 
taking with him three horses, one for riding and two 
for packing. But notwithstanding these difliculties 
Mr. Stout continued the regular publication of his 
paper for upwards of forty years. He has in his 
possession regular files of his paper, bound in vol- 



140 



APPENDIX. 



I 






uines, which contain much interesting and valuable 
information. I am happy to say that the venerable 
editor, the "Nestor" of the Western press, is still 
alive, respected and beloved, and holding the office 
of Recorder of Deeds, an office conferred on him by 
the almost unanimous vote of his fellow-citizens< 
Long may he live to retain it. 



Mil 

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IX. 



CATHOLIC CHURCH. 



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THR CATirou*! ciirnrn at vincknnks— its kari.y kstabmsiimknt anj> 

I'KOGKI 8S-irs INKI.IiKNCK Ol'ON 'J UK INDIAN TltlliKS ALUNG TIIK VAL- 
LBV vV TUB WABAMI. 

It is not beyond the memory of the " oldest in- 
habitant" of the Post — indeed it is within the recol- 
lection of all who dwelt here forty years since — that 
fronting on Water, and running back on Church 
street, towards the present cathedral, there was 
a phiin building, with a rough exterior, built of up- 
right posts, "chunked and daubed," to use an arch- 
itectural expression, purely western, with a rough 
coat of cement on the outside; in width about 
twenty feet; in length about sixty; one story high, 
with a small bellfry, and an equally small bell, now 
used at the more elegant and symmetrical building- 
one for architectural design and beauty not exceed- 
ed in the State-^the Cathedral; and which yet 



CATHOLIC CHURCH. 



141 



rings out the "angelus" as it had done for the last 
hundred years, calling the descendants of those who 
worshipped here forty years since, to the daily reli- 
gious duties prescribed by their ancient church. The 
building I have described— placed in the cemetery 
where the various mortuary memorials, which piety 
and affection had dedicated to those who had gone 
before them, headed with the symbol of their faith, 
and for the most part of wood, the inscriptions from 
moss and time almost illegible — was the ancient 
church of "St. Francis Xavier." When built, and by 
whom, it is impossible, at this late period, to deter- 
mine. There can be little doubt, hcvcver, that 
it was erected under the auspioos of the Rev- 
erend Father, who accompanied lae French troops 
here in the early part of the eighteenth century, 
and was, without doubt, the only church used 
here for Catholic worship until the foundations 
of the new edifice, which has superseded it, were 
laid, and that building prepared for worship 
Around that primitive church on Sundays and 
Fast days might be seen the patriarch of his flock, 
with blanket capot — a blue cotton handkerchief 
around his head, with a pipe in his mouth, and with 
his family seated in chairs, in his untired cart, 
which had never known the use of iron, drawn by 
a Canadian pony, and conveying his generation, as 
his fathers before him had done theirs^ to the wor- 
ship of the same God, and in the same manner, and 
alter the same creed as their ancestors, for centuries 
before, had worshipped in "La Belle France," from 
whose shores they had been transplanted to those 



:i 



142 



APPENDIX. 



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of the St. Lawrence. If perfect and sincere belief 
in the creed they professed, an ardent and sincere 
devotion to that Church, a strict observance of all 
the rites and ceremonies prescribed by that church, 
the regular attendance on its ministrations, a faith 
in its teachings and doctrines that knew no change 
constitute the Christian — and without these no 
man can be one — the French population at Vin- 
cennes were a religious people during the last cen- 
tury, whatever may be their condition now. It is 
true that the services of morning mass being over, 
they sought recreation and pleasure wherever they 
could find it, and sometimes in a mode which, to the 
Puritan notions of a J^ew England man, might not 
seem strictly in accordance with his conception of 
the observance of the Sabbath. 

In all the private relations of life they were uj)- 
right, honorable and honest. Hospitable to an 
extent probably unknown among people of a differ- 
ent origin, they bid you welcome to their habita- 
tions, and were always glad to make you their 
guest. For many years after the Americans had 
taken possession of the country, there were no tav- 
erns, and "the stranger within their gates" was as 
much domiciled among them during his stay, as if 
he had been one of the family. 

It is to bo regretted that the history of this small 
chapel, dedicated to "St. Francis Xavier," its pa- 
tron saint, has not been preserved in the archives 
of that church now remaining. They open only as 
late as April 21st, 1749. That before that time, 
the chapel had been used for worship, and aside 



I 



CATHOLIC CHURCH. 



143 



from its regular services, births, baptisms and deaths 
had been noted on its records, and memoranda kept, 
there can be no doubt; for as early as 1712, at 
least, Father Mermet had been sent here as mis- 
sionary, and had the celebrated discussion with the 
Indian medicine man, as noted in the address, and 
from the first settlement in the Valley of the Wa- 
bash by the French, there had been a missionary 
here, as well as at "Ouiatanon," at the mouth of the 
Wea, just below the present site of Lafayette. I 
myself have seen, many years since, a manuscript 
in Indian and French, of the ritual and prayers of 
the Catholic church, made by the Jesuits at Ouia- 
tanon, and a conversational dictionary in the same 
language (the Miami), made at a very early period, 
while stationed among the Indians on the upper 
Wabash, and both in good preservation. What 
became of them I never have learned. They were 
preserved in the library of the church at this place. 
The settlement at Ouiatanon was broken up — the 
troops came here, while a portion of the inhabitants 
returned to Canada, and part came to Vincennes. 
It is a singular fact, but no less true, and highly 
creditable to the zeal, the learning, and the piety of 
the priests here, that the modest and impretending 
log chapel, which I have attempted to describe, 
sent out from its altar four of the Bishops of the 
American Catholic Church. They were 

"Benedict Joseph Flaget, Bishop of Bardstown 
and Louisville; 

"Arch Bishop Blanc, of New Orleans; 

"Jean Jean, his colleague here in the church in 



144 



APPENDIX. 






V'. 

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it 



1818, and appointed Bishop of New Orleans, but 
declined the appointment; i 

"Bishop Chabrat, Coadjutor Bishop of Bardstown 
and Louisville." 

In addition to these, two of the priests who have 
officiated at the cathedral, have been raised to the 
high honor of Bishops : 

"La 'Hailandiere, Bishop of Vincennes; 

"Martin, Bishop of Nachitoches, Louisiana." 

So that sic dignitaries of the Catholic church of 
tho United States, holding high rank and character, 
have officiated as priests at Post Vincennes, and 
tliree out of that number commenced their clerical 
career here. 

It would bo an interesting sketch, if we had the 
facts, to trace the history of the church of St. Francis 
Xavier, from tho commencement of the settlement 
of the "Post," down to the present time, but we are 
unable to do so. We have no records, and few 
legends. It is now I think a matter of history, that 
the Jesuit missionary, Mermet, who officiated at 
Kaskaskia, in the latter part of the seventeenth 
century, and the commencement of the eighteenth, 
was here before tho year 1712, accompanying the 
Sieur Juchereau, a Canadian officer, who came from 
the French posts on the Mississippi, to establish a 
military post here. It is fairly to be presumed 
that " Father Senat, " who accompanied " Vin- 
Benne," in the expedition against the Chickasaw 
Indians, in 1736, in which engagement he was taken 
prisoner, and burnt at the stake, although he might 



CATHQJ^Ip CHURCH. 



145 



have escaped, (preferring to remain and solace and 
assist the prisoners,) officiated here previous to the 
departure of the troops on that expedition; but this 
is but mere ponjecture.' The first entry on the 
church recorcis here, is dated April 21st, 1749. 
There is neithei* title page nor introduction. The 
first entry is the certificate of marriage between 
"Julien Trattier, of Montreal, Canada, and Josette 
Marie, the daughter of a Frenchman and an Indian 
woman." The only baptisms recorded during the 
year, are those of the Indian adults. One of the 
first deaths was Madam Trattier, aged eighteen 
years, whose marriage we have above rocorded. 
She was but a short time a bride, having been buried 
in December, 1750, in the church, under her pew, on 
the "Gospel side" — ^so says the record. The resi- 
dent priest was "Father Sebastian Louis Meurin." 
All certificates except those of deaths are sigiied by 
"M. de St. Ange, Lieutenant of Marines arid Com- 
mandant for the King, at Post Vincennes." Father 
Meurin left in 1753. His last official act was the 
burial of " the wife of a Corporal in the garrison, 
March, 1753." He was succeeded by "Father 
Louis Vivier." His first recorded act is a marriage. 
May 20th, 1753. On the 24th of the same month 
he buried "Pierre Leonardy, Lieutenant of the gar- 
rison." His last record is dated August 28th, 1756. 
The number of baptisms and marriages is small, 
but increasing. Half of them are of "Hed or Indian 
Slaves" belonging to the Commandant and to the 
inhabitants. It was a number of years after the 



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t46 



AFPENDIX. 



departure of tHe Jesuits, who had officiated as 
priests until about the year 1760, that another 
priest visited Vincennes. During the interregnum, 
one "Philibert," Notary Public, administered bap- 
tism as a layman, privately, and duly recorded the 
names of those to whom he administered the rile, 
on the register. 

In February, 1770, »M. Gibault, Vicar GTeneral 
of the Bishop of Quebec, for Illinois and the adjoin- 
ing counties," made his first visit to Vincennes. In 
March he returned* to Kaskaskia, the usual place of 
his residence, but f6r several years continued to 
pay occasionar visits to the Post. He was for a 
time the only priest in Indiana, " His zeal and 
energy were wonderful, his labors almost surpassing 
belief." "We have in a former part of this work 
devoted several pages to the exertions of this great 
and good man. We find from -the records of the 
church, that in July, 1778, he was at Vincennes, 
exerting himself successfully in inducing the French 
inhabitants to declare in favor of the United States, 
against Great Britain. In the wooden chapel of 
" St. Francis Xavier," which we have before de- 
scribed, (ard which, if for no other reason should be 
made historical,) he administered to them the oath 
of allegiance to the United States, in the most sol- 
emn manner. Being from Canada, he was an 
English sufyjed, and risked everything in taking part 
with the Americans. He conciliated the Indian 
tribes, and rendered them friendly to the Ameri- 
cans. Nor can there oe a doubt that the efforts of 
this good friend, with the aid of Vigo, and the 



CA.THOLIC CHURCH. 



147 



bravery and skill of Clark, acquired the whole of 
the North-Western Territory, as a rich appanage 
to that which the United States already held. "It 
is a remarkable fact, (says Bishop Spaulding in his 
life of Bishop Flaget, one of the early pioneers of 
the church at Yincennes, and to whose work I am 
greatly indebted for its chronological history,) and 
highly creditable to the French settlers, and indica- 
tive of the humanizing influence of the Catholic 
religion, that during the period of which we are 
speaking, there is not found among the numerous 
deaths recorded, a single instance of a murder com.' 
mitted by an Indian ! Nor is there in the register 
any intimation of hostile feelings entertained by 
even one of the tribes against the whites." In July, 
1779, M. Gibault again visited Vincennes, then in 
possession of the Americans. He remained three 
weeks, discharging the duties of his office. Five 
years elapsed without a visit from a priest, when 
M. Gibault reappeared' in 1784, accompanied by the 
Rev. M. Payet. In May, 1786, M. Gibault estab- 
lished himself at the "Post," as the resident pastor. 
He remained here until October, 1789, when he 
finally left Vincennes, having probably been recall- 
ed to Canada by the Bishop of Quebec. A layman, 
Pierre Mallet, acted as " guardian of the church," 
having been thus appointed by M. Gibault, until 
the arrival of M. Flaget, in 1792. In 1793, the 
small-pox raged with great violence. In that year 
there were no less than seventy-six deaths among the 
parishioners, and M. Flaget, exhausted with his 
"labors of love" among the people, nearly fell a vie- 



I 



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148 



APPENDIX. 



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tim to the pestilence. M. Iflaget remained hero 
nearly two years, when he was recalled to Balti- 
more by his sui^eriors. No man was ever more 
beloved by his parishioners than this excellent naan 
and most exemplary priest. The "ancient inhabit- 
ants " speak of him to this day, with unqualified 
love and admiration. So entirely devoted were the 
people of Vincennes to him, that when he took his 
final leave of them, to spare their feelings, he took 
his departure as if going to Kaskaskia. Nor was 
it until his escort returned, that the people learned 
that he had probu]bl> luft them forever. M. Rivet 
.succeeded him as priest, and remained here until 
liis death, in 1804. There appears to have been no 
regularly stationed priest here for a period of about 
two vears. Those who officiated here were here but a 
short time, and were attached to the missions in the 
Illinois, or to the diocese of Kentucky. M. Flaget, 
(•orsecrated "Bishop of Bardstown," revisited Vin- 
cennes in 1814, much to the joy of those of his old 
{)arishioners who were living; and again in 1819, in 
1823, and 1832, which was his last visit, to meet 
Bishop llosati, with a view of recommending some 
tit person to the head of the See of Vincennes. 
Their choice fell upon that most excellent man, and 
learned aid pious prelate, Dr. Simon Brute, of 
iilmot+sville, Maryland. The first Bishop of Vin- 
cennes, Bishop Flaget, died at Louisville, in the 
month of February, 1850, full of years, ripe in ec. 
clesiastical honors, and universally beloved by all 
\\'ho knew him. The small chapel of "St. Francis 
Xavier" has been turned into a cathedral — the 



CATHOLIC CHURCH. 



14^ 



parish, which in the last half century had not even 
a settled priest, but depended on the ministrations 
of those who occasionally came here from abroad, 
has become the head of a diocese. While such has 
been the progress of the church, that even this, 
within the last year, has been divided ; and instead 
of the single priest, who once distributed the mes- 
sages of love and peace to a few poor Frenchmen, 
Indiana has now two diocesan Bishops, probably 
sixty priests, one hundred and twenty churches or 
chapels, and a Catholic population of not less than 
eighty thousand inhabitants. Truly, the small wood- 
en chapel of "St. Francis Xavier," has been the 
"Alma Mater" of the Catholic church in Indiana. 
It is an historical fact, whatever we Protestants 
may say to the contrary, that the influence of the 
Catholic priests, particularly the Jesuits in the 
eighteenth century, over the tribes which sur- 
rounded them, and for whose conversion to Chris- 
tianity they labored with unceasing devotion and 
energy, was much greater than those of any other 
religious denomination that ever ministered to their 
spiritual wants; this is peculiarly the case with 
those tribes dwelling in that portion of the North- 
Western Territory, out of which has been created 
the «tate of Indiana. No class of men ever endured 
greater sufferings, or made greater sacrifices for the 
cause they were engaged in. From the time when 
Marquette discovered the Mississippi, in 1673, 
until the suspension of the order of Jesuits, in 1773, 
a century after, these followers of the cross were 
f 'instant in season and out of season," in their efforts 



160 



AFPEWDUL 



11 

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to convert the Indian tribes dwelling between the 
Lakes and the Ohio— the Miami and the Missis- 
sippi. Even those who were temporarily assigned 
to duty at the French villages on the Wabash and 
Mississippi, viewed the conversion of the Indian 
as the chief object of their missions in the West, 
and inscribed upon the registers of the church the 
great fact, that while ministering to the wants of 
others of their flock, the great purpose which called 
them here was to convert, if possible, the savage^ 
to the adoration of the only tnae God. Hence, 
Father Rivet, one of the most zealous and laborious 
of the order, inscribed upon the records of the 
church here, that he was "missionary appointed for 
the savages, exercising the ministry, /or fAe moment, 
in the parish of 'St. Francis Xavier.'" And the 
same register shows the baptism and marriage of 
many Indiana of the different tribes residing along 
the Wabash — the Pottawotomies, Miamies, Shaw- 
nees, Piankeshaws, and Weas — while performing 
his parochial duties at this place. This success 
was wonderful. Out of one village, composed of 
six hundred Indians, all of them were baptized, 
with the exception of five or six. They had to 
adopt the migratory habits of the Indians — they 
followed them to their hunting grounds, "lifted up 
their tabernacles in the wilderness," and adminis- 
tered the ordinances of the church to these sons of 
the forest, whenever and wherever an opportunity 
might oifer. But it was not only toil, hunger, cold, 
that these missionaries of the Cross were called 
upon to endure, but many, very many were toma- 



\ 



CATHOLIC CHUBCH. 



151 



hawked, or what was far worse, burnt at the stake, 
with a cruelty and malignity which only the savage 
could feel or perpetrata It is recorded of one of 
these followers of Loyala, that after having been 
tied to the stake, and prepared for the sacrifice, at 
the suggestion of one ef the chiefs he was taken 
down, and both his hands cut off at the wrist, with 
a view, as was said, of preventing him from per- 
forming the offices of ihe church. The mangled 
flesh was seared with a burning brand, and the 
good man left in the midst of his tortures, to re- 
cover as he could. Strange to say, ihe did recwer, 
and having been ransomed from the tribe, returned 
to France. When he presented a memorial to the 
head of the church to allow him, mutilated as he 
was, to perform high mass, the answer from the 
Pope was as eloquent as it was affecting: 

** Indignum esaet. Cbristi martyrum, 
Non bibere, Christi sanguinemi" 

The gifts of potentates and powers, the resolu- 
tions of senates, and the decrees of academies and 
colleges, to the most meritorious of military, civil, 
or scientific men, fall far short of the pathos and 
gratitude expressed in this short answer to the 
prayer of the petitioner. The history of these men 
shows that neither danger nor death deterred them 
for a moment in carrying out the great object of 
tlieir life, the conversion of the Indian tribes spread 
along the borders of our Northern Lakes, and along 
Hihe valleys of the Wabash and Illinois. No sooner 
was it understood that their predecessors had per- 
ished, either at the stake or by the scalping-knife 



162 



APPENDIX; 



/. i 



of the Indian, than new recruits offei-ed their ser- 
vices to fill their places. In fact, if we believe the 
statements of these men, which have come down to 
us, and there can be no doubt of their truth, a mis- 
sion among these barbarous tribes, was a "labor of 
love" to these heralds of the Cross. Starting from 
Quebec, long before a white man had ever visited 
the great West, they traversed our Northern Lakes, 
established missionary stations along its borders, 
crossed the portage between the Fox and the Wis- 
consin, descended the Mississippi, established chap- 
els at Pcoriu, then called St. Louis, at Cahokia, 
Prairie du Roche and Kaskaskia, at St. Joseph, 
Ouiatanon, and Vincennes. In fine, wherever be- 
tween the Lakes and the Ohio, a chapel could be 
erected, at whose altar the Indian could be brought 
to worship, they set it up, and gathered around it 
every member of the tribe who was freed from the 
influence and charlatanery of their " medicine men." 
That their success was great, the love and devotion 
of that portion of them, small in number, which 
exist at this date, to the ^^Rohes Noir,^^ afibrds 
abundant evidence. And there are but few of the 
chiefs of those tribes, who once lorded it along 
the valleys of the Illinois and the Wabash, now 
transferred to their new hunting gi'ounds bevond 
rhe Mississippi, but what wear the symbol of tiieir 
Savior's suffering around their necks, to them a 
proud memorial of their conversion to the Chris- 
tian faith. It is not for me to say, what were the 
influences which gave to these intelligent and well 
educated men, such an influence with the tribes 



CATHOLIC CHURCH. 



153 



j> 



among Which they lived, such a control over their 
conduct, that so eifectually disarmed their ani- 
mosity to the white man, and removed their preju- 
dices to a very great degree against our race. But 
that it was so in a degree far superior to that of any 
other Christian sect, so far as the Indian race is 
concerned, is, I think, proved by all experience, in 
the various missions established among the tribes. 
The French have almost always succeeded in con- 
ciliating them, while the Anglo-Saxon has made 
but little progress in claiming their confidence or 
their affection. It may be that the manners of the 
two races may have something to do with it — the 
one always affable, always polite, always courteous 
—the other more a matter-of-fact man, and with 
but few of those qualifications which, on first ac- 
quaintance, give him credit, and induce the stranger 
to place his trust in him. It may be that the reli- 
gious forms and ceremonies of the Catholic and 
Protestant churches, have had their influences 
in leading the Indian to adopt the creed of the first, 
instead of the latter. It may be, that that love of 
gain, so inherent in the one race and not in the 
other, has had the effect to direct the attention of 
one, to things temporal, to the neglect of things 
spiritual. For whatever may be said of the Indian 
race, they are as quick to discern the motives of 
men as their neighbors, the whites. A century and 
a half since there dwelt in the now State of Maine, 
along the Canadian borders, a large tribe of Indians 
called the " Abnakis." The Jesuits had established 
missions among them. The English and French 



If 



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164 



APPENDIX. 



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were at war— one of the villages of the "Abnakis" 
had been attacked by the English, and the chapel 
erected in it burnt. Peace having been concluded, 
and Boston being nearer to the settlements of the 
tribe than Quebec, the Indians deputized some of 
the principal men of the nation to go to Boston, for 
the purpose of engaging workmen to rebuild the 
church, promising to pay them for their labors. 
The Governor received the chiefs with great demon- 
strations of friendship, and treated them with great 
hospitality. At a council, he addressed them as 
follows: "My children, I desire above all things to 
re-establish your church, and will do much more for 
you than the French Governor, whom you call your 
*Pather.' It belongs properly to him to rebuild 
it, inasmuch as in one sense he was the cause of its 
destruction. In inducing jou to make war against 
the English, what could I do but defend myself; 
while on the contrary, he, after persuading you to 
assist him in the war against us, deserted you. I 
will do much better by you than he eve* did, for I 
will not only provide you with laborers for the ejec- 
tion of your church, but will pay them myself, and 
defray all the lexpenses of its construction. But it 
is no more than right, that being an Englishman, if 
I rebuild your church, I should also provide you 
with an English pastor^ to take care of your •church, 
and to instruct you in . your religion. I will send 
you one, with whom you will be much pleased, and 
you can send back to Quebec the French Pastor, 
who is now at your village." -fir,/ ., ; ^•^{; 
"Your language astonishes me," said the deputy 



CATHOLIC CHUBCH. 



155 



of the savages, " and I wonder at the proposition 
you have made us. Listen: When you came here, 
for you have known us long before the Governor of 
Canada became acquainted with our people, neither 
those who preceded you, nor your ministers, ever 
spoke to us of prayer, or the Great Spirit. They 
looked at our peltries, at our beaver skins, and our 
elk skins ; and it was of them alone they took a 
thought — ^it was these only that they sought with 
eagerness. I could not furnish them in sufficient 
abundance; and when I furnished them a large 
quantity, I vf&s their jfreat friend^ their ^ood brother ^ 
and all that. On the other hand, my canoe one 
day going astray, I lost my way, and waiwleTing for 
a long time uncertain which course to pursue, I 
found myself eventually in the neighborhood of 
Quebec, and in a largo village of the Algonquins, 
whom the "EobesNoir" were teaching. I had 
merely landed, when a Jesuit came to see me, I 
was loaded with peltries. The Jesuit scarcely deign- 
ed to look at them. He spoke to me of the Great 
Spirit, of Paradise, of Hell, and of Prayer, as the 
only means of getting to Heaven. I heard him 
with pleasure, and enjoyed his conversation so 
much, that I remained at the village for some time 
to listen to him. In fact, the prayer pleased me so 
much^ that I employed him to instruct me. I ask- 
ed to be baptised. I received baptism. At last I 
returned to my own country. I narrated whst had 
happened to me. Every one envied my good for- 
tune. All wished to partieifuite in it, and were 
desirous of seeking out the Black Robe immedi- 



1'^^ 



156 



APPENDIX. 






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ately, and demanding baptism. Such has been the 
conduct of the French towards us. If you had seen 
lis first, and spoken to us concerning prayers, We 
should have had the misfortune to pray as you 
English do, for we should not have had the capacity 
to discern whether we prayed right or not. So I 
shall stick to the French prayers. It suits me well, 
and I will adhere to it until the world is burnt and 
destroyed. Keep your workmen, your money, and 
vour minister. I psk for neither." ^ - < .. ■ 
MoBAL. — In striving for the conversion of the 
Indian, it is better to talk with him about prayers 
i\\^n peltries. ' - > i ^ w . . u . 



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X. 



LIST 



OF BFPBCTIVB MEN BBLONGING TO CAPT. PIERRE OA&IEUN'S COMMAS t 
AT POST VINOENNES, JULY 4TH, 1790. 



1 Christopher Wyant, Ensign, 

2 Peter Thorn, Sergeant, 

3 Frederick Mehl, do, 

4 Jeremiah Mays, do, 

5 Richard Johnson, Cadet, 



6 Robert Johnson, 

7 Joseph Cloud, 

8 Daniel Pea, 

9 John Loc, 

10 Godfrey Peters, 

11 John Murphy, 

12 John Laferty, 

13 Frederick Barger, 

14 George Barger, 

15 Peter Barger, 

16 Frederick Midler, 

17 Benj.Beckes, 

18 Robert Day, 

19 Edward Shoebrook, 

20 John Westfall, 

21 Edward Johnson, 

22 Joshua Harbin, 

23 John Robbins, 

24 John Martin, 

26 Abraham Westfall, 
26 James Watts, 



27 Thomas Jordan, 

28 William Smith, 

29 Daniel Smith, 

30 James Johnson, 

31 Ezekiel Holiday, 

32 Michael Thorne, 

33 Solomon Thorne, 

34 Daniel Thorne, 

35 Charles Thorne, 

36 Christian Barkman, 

37 Abraham Barkman, 

38 John Rice Jones, 

39 Patrick Simpson, 

40 John Wilmore, 

41 Frederick Lindsy, 

42 Mathew Dibbons, 

43 Hugh Demsey, 

44 JohnCulbert, 

45 Robert Garavert, 

46 Isaac Carpenter.